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May 21st, 2009

3 U.S. Soldiers Killed as Bombs Hit Iraq Cities

Image: Iraqi man sits outside a destroyed building after a car bomb
An Iraqi man sits on the sidewalk looking at the destruction following a car bomb in the mainly Shiite Shula quarter of Baghdad on Thursday, May 21, 2009. (Photo credit: Khalil al-Murshidi / AFP — Getty Images)

May 21, 2009

BAGHDAD — Three American soldiers were killed and nine others wounded Thursday in a bombing attack in Baghdad, the U.S. military said, in a burst of violence only weeks before American combat troops are due to leave Iraqi cities.

The attack was one of a series of bombings to hit Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk, killing at least 25 people and wounding dozens more. It also came a day after a car bomb exploded near a group of restaurants in a Shiite neighborhood of northwest Baghdad, killing 41 people and injuring more than 70.

The deadliest blast Thursday occurred in Baghdad’s southern district of Dora when a suicide bomber attacked an American foot patrol in an outdoor market. Army Maj. David Shoupe said three American soldiers and at least four civilians were killed in the blast. Iraqi police and hospital officials put the civilian toll at 12 killed and 25 wounded. …

Paramilitaries attacked in Kirkuk

Awakening Council member examine the scene of a suicide bombing in Kirkuk, Iraq, May 21, 2009.
Awakening Council member examine the scene of a suicide bombing in Kirkuk, Iraq, May 21, 2009. (Photo credit: Emad Matti / AP)

Earlier Thursday, another suicide bomber killed seven U.S.-backed Sunni paramilitaries as they waited in a line to receive salaries at an Iraqi military base in the northern city of Kirkuk.

Police Maj. Salam Zankana said the victims in the Kirkuk attack were members of the local paramilitary Awakening Council — Sunnis who turned against the insurgents and help provide security. Eight others were wounded, he said. …

Also Thursday, a bomb exploded inside a police station in western Baghdad, killing three policemen and wounding 19 others, an Iraqi police official said. The bomb was hidden inside a trash can and carried into the station, he added. …


Car Bomb Blast Kills 41 in Northwest Baghdad

Image: Car bomb explosion aftermath in Baghdad
People gather at the site of a car bomb explosion in Shula, Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, May 21, 2009, a day after a parked car bomb exploded near a popular restaurant, killing 41 people and injured 76 others, police said. (Photo credit: Hadi Mizban / AP)

May 20, 2009

BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded Wednesday near several restaurants in a Shiite neighborhood of northwest Baghdad, killing 41 people and injuring more than 70, police and hospital officials said. …

The blast appeared timed for maximum civilian casualties, going off about 7 p.m. when many Baghdad residents take advantage of cooler evening temperatures for shopping and dining in outdoor kebab restaurants.

It was the first major car-bombing in the capital since May 6, when 15 people were killed at a produce market in south Baghdad, and the deadliest in the city since twin car blasts killed 51 people in another Shiite neighborhood, Sadr City, on April 29.

Nearly 200 people were killed in major bombings in Baghdad alone last month — mostly against Shiite targets. …

Sprawling Shiite neighborhood

Police said the blast happened in Shula, a sprawling neighborhood which had been a stronghold of Shiite militias including the Mahdi Army during the height of sectarian fighting two years ago.

Witnesses said the blast occurred about 300 yards from an Iraqi security forces checkpoint.

Police and hospital officials said 41 people were killed and 76 wounded. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

A witness who gave only his nickname Abu Ahmed, or “Father of Ahmed,” said a small truck carrying vegetables parked near a restaurant at Sadrain Square and the driver disappeared. After five minutes, the car exploded, killing men, women and children.

U.S. soldiers wounded

Also Wednesday, three U.S. soldiers were wounded in north Baghdad in a blast from a type of weapon which the U.S. military believes is manufactured and smuggled from Iran.

The U.S. military confirmed the attack and said the bomb was an explosively formed projectile, which hurls a fist-sized piece of copper through armored vehicles. Iran has denied providing such weapons.

On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said U.S. troops are still finding large numbers of Iranian-made weapons in Iraq, despite’s Iran’s denials.


Iraqi Forces Fret As U.S. Unit Prepares to Leave

May 20, 2009

BAGHDAD — As his U.S. partners prepare to move, an Iraqi army captain pleads with his American counterpart to leave behind a generator so his soldiers can have electricity when city power fails. …

Power supplies are still erratic, with most areas of Baghdad averaging 12 hours of power a day at best. …

A Pentagon report in January found that as of October, only 17 of the 175 Iraqi combat battalions and two of the 34 National Police battalions could operate on their own. …

A horrific spate of bombings in Baghdad in recent weeks has raised fears that security gains made over the past two years could be lost after the Iraqis take full responsibility for security in the cities. …


Arms Sent by U.S. May Be Falling into Taliban Hands

Image: U.S. soldier in Afghanistan
A soldier in the Second Platoon, Company B, First Battalion, 26th Infantry in the Korangal Valley, Afghanistan, April 2009. The platoon captured what looked like American-issued munitions. (Photo credit: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times)

By C. J. Chivers

May 20, 2009

KABUL — Insurgents in Afghanistan, fighting from some of the poorest and most remote regions on earth, have managed for years to maintain an intensive guerrilla war against materially superior American and Afghan forces.

Arms and ordnance collected from dead insurgents hint at one possible reason: Of 30 rifle magazines recently taken from insurgents corpses, at least 17 contained cartridges, or rounds, identical to ammunition the United States had provided to Afghan government forces, according to an examination of ammunition markings by The New York Times and interviews with American officers and arms dealers.

The presence of this ammunition among the dead in the Korangal Valley, an area of often fierce fighting near Afghanistans border with Pakistan, strongly suggests that munitions procured by the Pentagon have leaked from Afghan forces for use against American troops. …

Full story


Related story

Top U.S. military officer concerned Afghanistan surge could destabilize Pakistan


Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security developments in Iraq on Thursday, May 21, 2009 as reported by Reuters.

BAGHDAD – A suicide bomber struck a crowded market in Baghdad’s southern Doura district, killing 12 people and wounding 25 others, police said. Three U.S. soldiers were also killed in the attack, the U.S. military said.

KIRKUK – A suicide bomber killed seven people and wounded eight in the city of Kirkuk, 155 miles north of Baghdad, in an attack on Sunni anti-al Qaeda militia members who had gathered to collect their pay, police and army sources said.

BAGHDAD – Two policemen were killed and 20 others wounded when a bomb planted in a trash can exploded near a police station in western Baghdad’s Maamoun district, police said.

BAGHDAD – The death toll of a parked car bomb in northwest Baghdad’s largely Shi’ite district of Shula on Wednesday rose to 40 people killed and 82 wounded, police said, revising earlier figures higher.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded two policemen and three civilians in southeast Baghdad’s Zaafaraniya district, police said.

MUSSAYAB – Four policemen were wounded on Wednesday when a Katyusha rocket landed near a police patrol in the town of Mussayab, around 40 miles south of Baghdad, police said.

MUSSAYAB – Roadside bombs wounded four Iraqi soldiers and three policemen when they arrived at the scene of a car accident that killed nine people and wounded seven others, police said.

HILLA – A gunman opened fire at a mourning ceremony, killing two men on Wednesday in an area near Hilla, 60 miles south of Baghdad, police said.

SHULA – A parked car bomb in northwest Baghdad’s largely Shi’ite Shula district killed two people and wounded 10 others, police said.

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