Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Iraq War Update: Deadly Car Bomb Hits Baghdad; More U.S. Casualties in April

Deadly car bomb hits Shia area of Baghdad

Explosion kills at least 16 people and wounds dozens more in southern neighbourhood of Iraqi capital

Last Modified: 03 May 2011 20:50

A car bomb has torn through a cafe packed with young men watching a football match in a predominantly Shia area of southern Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, killing at least 16 people.

It was the first major attack in Iraq since US commandos killed Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, in Pakistan.

The explosion occurred in Abudsheer, a Shia enclave in the former al-Qaeda stronghold of Dora, an area of the capital which saw some of the fiercest fighting of the Iraq conflict.

"It was a bomb inside a vehicle which resulted in the death and injury of a number of civilians in the district of Abudsheer," said Major-General Qassim al-Moussawi, Baghdad's security spokesman.

Al-Qaeda operatives have vowed revenge for bin Laden's death on Sunday. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack,

Most of the dead and wounded were young people watching a football match, said police and hospital officials.

A vendor selling food near the cafe also was among the dead.

Many locals were quick to blame al-Qaeda.

"This is the cowardly reaction of al-Qaeda after the killing of the big terrorist bin Laden. They intend to do this against such gatherings in Shiite areas," Jasim Hashim, a 20-year-old student who lives about 200 metres from the scene of the explosion.

He said his parents had refused to let him go out, fearing just such an attack after bin Laden's capture, but one of his close friends was at the cafe and killed in the attack.

Roadside bomb

Iraqi security forces have been on high alert since the killing of bin Laden.

Security officials said they expected the organisation's local affiliate to carry out revenge attacks.

Violence has fallen sharply in Iraq in recent years from the peak of sectarian violence in 2006-07 but fighters still launch dozens of bombings and other attacks each month.

The head of Iraq's grain board was wounded in an apparent assassination attempt on Tuesday when a roadside bomb hit his motorcade in Baghdad.

Hassan Ibrahim suffered fractures and other wounds in a blast that killed his driver.

He was appointed in March to lead the body that provides Iraq, one of the world's largest grain importers, with wheat and rice for its national food ration programme.

Source: Agencies

April deadliest month for US in Iraq since 2009

(AFP)--BAGHDAD — The killing on Friday of an American soldier made April the deadliest month for US forces in Iraq since 2009, according to figures compiled by AFP.

The soldier "was killed April 29 while conducting operations in southern Iraq," a US military statement released on Saturday said, without giving further details.

The death brought to 11 the number of US troops to die in Iraq in April, according to an AFP tally based on data compiled by independent website

That is the highest monthly toll since November 2009, when 11 soldiers also died, starkly highlighting the risks American soldiers still face even after combat operations were officially declared over last summer.

Of the remainder of April's 11 killed, six died in "non-hostile" incidents, two were killed by a roadside bomb in Numaniyah, Wasit province, and two died in separate mortar attacks in Baghdad and Babil provinces.

Also on Saturday, the US army's Contingency Operating Site Echo in the southern province of Diwaniyah was hit by a rocket attack, while an American military convoy near the Shiite holy city of Najaf was targetted, Sergeant Elvis Umanzor said.

No further details were available regarding either incident.

Around 45,000 US soldiers still remain stationed in Iraq. While they are primarily charged with training and equipping their local counterparts, they can return fire in self-defence and still take part in joint counter-terror operations with Iraqi forces.

Friday's death also brings to 4,452 the number of American troops to have died in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, according to the AFP tally.

May 4, 2011

Iraq: Third Day of Blasts in Baghdad


Three explosions shook the neighborhood of Dora in south Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 10 and wounding 28, according to a local security official. It was the third straight day in which Dora had been attacked. Dora is predominantly Sunni, although the attack on Tuesday evening occurred in a Shiite area.

Improvised explosive devices and magnetic bombs were detonated on Sunday and Monday, injuring 12 people, including four police officers and a government official.

Members of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia have said they would increase attacks after Osama bin Laden’s death.

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