Spate of Iraq attacks leaves 23 dead
AFP - Thursday, November 13
BAGHDAD (AFP) - - At least 23 people were killed in a string of attacks across Iraq on Wednesday, including a dozen people who lost their lives in a rush hour bombing in Baghdad and two US troops slain by an Iraqi comrade.
In the deadliest single attack of the day, a booby-trapped car exploded, followed by another bomb blast at a bus station in the working class district of Baghdad al-Jadida in the east of the capital.
At least 12 people were killed and 60 wounded, an interior ministry official said.
In the northern city of Mosul, an Iraqi soldier on joint patrol with US troops opened fire on his American comrades, killing two, the ministry said.
"During a patrol with the Iraqi army, an Iraqi soldier opened fire on the American soldiers at around 1300 hours (1000 GMT), killing two of them and wounding others," a ministry statement said.
A ministry source said a US soldier "slapped an Iraqi soldier during the patrol and he opened fire in response."
The US military said in a statement that two soldiers were killed and six wounded in a "small arms fire attack" in an Iraqi army base in Mosul, but did not say what caused the incident.
"Initial reports indicate the attacker was an Iraqi soldier. The Iraqi soldier was killed in the counter attack," it said.
"The situation is fluid and still under investigation, so the casualty figures may change," the military said in a follow-up statement.
Elsewhere in Mosul -- which the US military considers to be one of the last bastions of Al-Qaeda in Iraq -- two Christian sisters were slain by gunmen who broke into their home and wired it with bombs.
The intruders killed Lamia and Walaa Sabih and wounded their mother before booby-trapping the house. When police arrived a bomb went off, wounding two of them, an officer said on condition of anonymity.
The US military said in a statement that five bombs were placed in the home and that two exploded.
The two women -- one of whom was the mother of three children -- both worked for the provincial council, which released a statement condemning the attack.
More than 2,000 Christian families fled Mosul in October after a wave of killings in the city.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that some Christians were starting to return, with around a third of the families in one neighbourhood having come back to their homes.
Since the US-led invasion of 2003, more than 200 Iraqi Christians have been killed across Iraq and a string of churches attacked, with the violence intensifying in recent months, particularly in the north.
Around 800,000 Christians lived in Iraq at the time of the invasion, but the number has since shrunk by a significant proportion as members of the minority community have fled.
Another six people were killed on Wednesday in a string of bombings in Baghdad, which has seen near-daily attacks in recent days, most targeting security forces, despite an overall improvement in security over the past year.
Four people were killed, including two policemen, and another 14 were wounded when a bomb exploded in a parking lot near Saadun Street, a main thoroughfare running through the heart of the city.
Another car bomb went off later in a residential neighbourhood in northeast Baghdad, killing two people and wounding another 10, police said.
The attacks came two days after 28 people were killed and dozens wounded in a triple attack in a market in the Sunni district of Adhamiyah, the bloodiest Baghdad bombing since June.
Major General Qassim Atta, a spokesman for the Iraqi army in Baghdad, said in a statement that security forces were stepping up efforts "to prevent an increase in terrorist operations in the capital."
He added that they would be deploying sonar equipment to try to detect explosives being brought into the city and would also boost their intelligence-gathering operations.
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Iraqis look at a crater created following a car bomb in the northern city of Mosul, some 370 kms north of the capital Baghdad, on November 11, 2008. At least 23 people were killed in a string of attacks across Iraq on Wednesday, including a dozen people who lost their lives in a rush hour bombing in Baghdad and two US troops slain by an Iraqi comrade.
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