Da Gulf News del 25/11/2005
Originale su http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/RegionNF.asp?ArticleID=194825

Suicide bomber hits US troops distributing toys

Baghdad: A suicide car bomber, targeting US troops handing out toys to children at a hospital in central Iraq, killed at least 30 people on Thursday, including four police guards, three women and two children, officials said.

Dr Dawoud Al Taie, the director of the Mahmoudiya hospital, said 35 other people were wounded in the morning attack.

Iraqi Army Captain Ebrahim Abdullah said the suicide bomber was targeting US military vehicles parked near the hospital in Mahmoudiya, about 30km south of Baghdad. He said two US soldiers were wounded and one Humvee damaged.

The US soldiers were distributing toys to children in the hospital, another Iraqi soldier said.

Osama Kassab, a doctor at Baghdad's Al Yarmouk hospital, said 23 injured and three dead were treated there. It was not clear if these were in addition to the dead and wounded cited by the doctor in Mahmoudiya.

"It was an explosion at the gate of the hospital," said one woman who had wounds on her face and legs. "My children are gone. My brother is gone."

Mahmoudiya is a religiously mixed town in the so-called triangle of death, a region known for attacks on coalition forces and Shiites moving through the area to visit shrines south of the region.

On July 13 a suicide bomber killed 18 children and teenagers getting candy and toys from American soldiers. One of the soldiers was among the 27 people killed in that blast in an impoverished Shiite Muslim neighbourhood of Baghdad.

In the southern Dora neighbourhood of Baghdad, gunmen ambushed a police patrol, killing four officers, police Captain Qasim Hussain said.

In a separate attack, a bodyguard for the head of the Iraqi Islamic Party branch in Khalis, 80km north of Baghdad, was wounded in a drive-by shooting yesterday morning.

Hussain Abid Al Zubeidi, who is also a member of the Diyala provincial council, said he escaped unharmed from the attack near Baquba, 60km northeast of Baghdad.

In a similar shooting, former Iraqi army Colonel Hussain Mohammad was killed late on Wednesday in Baquba, said Dr Ahmad Fouad, a morgue attendant.

There have been repeated insurgent attacks in the Khalis-Baquba area, mostly focusing on Iraqis who join the security forces or participate in politics.

Elsewhere, three American soldiers from Task Force Baghdad died of gunshot wounds on Wednesday, the US military said. Two died in southwest Baghdad, while another died in central Baghdad, the statement said.

Another soldier died of wounds sustained on Wednesday from an improvised explosive device in Hit, 140km west of Baghdad, another statement said.

He was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, which has several army units temporarily assigned to it.

The names were withheld pending notification of kin.

A roadside bomb exploded yesterday slightly injuring three Polish soldiers and one Iraqi child, a military spokesman in Warsaw said.

Colonel Zdzislaw Gnatowski said the explosion occurred near Camp Echo, the headquarters for Poland's military mission in Diwaniyah 120km south of Baghdad.

In a press conference yesterday, government spokesman Laith Kubba said insurgent attacks are expected to rise before elections on December 15.

He said "Muslim extremists and Saddam (Hussain's) criminals" will be making their last stand.


POLITICS: MORE REBELS 'READY FOR TALKS'

Several insurgents groups have contacted President Jalal Talabani's office in the past few days, with some saying they are ready to lay down their arms and join the political process, the presidential security adviser said yesterday.

Lieutenant General Wafiq Al Samaraei said "the calls we received were different. The calls were also from different groups." Al Samaraei, a former military intelligence chief under Saddam Hussain, did not say whether the groups were extremists or belonged to the Baath Party.

Talabani said last weekend in Egypt he was ready for talks with anti-government opposition figures as well as Baathists.

"Many groups have called and some of them clearly expressed the readiness to join the political process," Al Samaraei said. This shows that "the initiative was welcomed by Iraqis."

In the western province of Anbar, members of some militant groups said that they had been in talks with Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi for about two weeks but would not say how they were going.

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