8 G.I.'s Die in Baghdad, Most in a Day Since '05
MICHAEL LUO / NY Times | October 3 2006
Eight United States soldiers were killed Monday in Baghdad, the United States military said, the most in the capital in a day since July 2005.
Four of the soldiers died in a roadside bomb attack; the four others were killed by small-arms fire in separate incidents.
Monday's loss also represented one of the highest nationwide death tolls for American troops in the past year. In late August, nine soldiers and a marine were killed in a day. But before that, the last time eight or more soldiers were killed in hostile action was last November.
“Obviously this was a tragic day, with eight killed in 24 hours,” said Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a military spokesman.
The deadly day set back efforts by American and Iraqi troops to tame the sectarian violence that continues to besiege the capital. Since August, the military has made securing Baghdad a priority, pouring in additional troops and conducting neighborhood sweeps.
But the violence has continued, spiking over the last week with the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Military officials said last week that suicide bombings in Baghdad were at a record. At least 17 soldiers and marines have been killed since Saturday, most in Baghdad or Anbar Province, where fierce fighting continues between marines and Sunni insurgents.
According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, an independent group that compiles figures based on information from the American military, 74 soldiers and marines were killed in Iraq in September, the highest number since April, when 76 died.
The violence also claimed 51 civilians across the country on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.
In the capital, an explosion at a fish market in Saidiya, in the southwest, just before 7 a.m. killed two people and wounded 10, an Interior Ministry official said. Just 15 minutes later, a mortar attack in Dora, a neighborhood in southern Baghdad that American and Iraqi troops have been trying to secure, killed two civilians and wounded five others, the official said.
Later in the day, four Iraqis were kidnapped as they left the Green Zone, which is home to the Iraqi government and American officials and workers. They were seized by gunmen who then sped off in three Toyota Land Cruisers, the official said.
On orders from Jawad Bolani, the interior minister, a high-ranking police commander was suspended Tuesday and taken into custody pending an investigation into a brazen kidnapping of 26 food-processing workers on Sunday in Amel, in western Baghdad. The bodies of at least 10 of them were found shortly afterward.
The commander, who was not identified, is being investigated because of what Brig. Abdul Kareem Khalaf, a ministry spokesman, described as the colonel's slow response to the kidnapping.
“The regiment's commander had enough force to interfere, but the ministry is investigating why he didn't do it,” he said.
A spokesman for the Iraqi High Tribunal said Tuesday that it would reconvene on Oct. 16 for Saddam Hussein's trial but that it would not issue a verdict, as had been expected. Mr. Hussein and seven other former officials are accused of crimes against humanity for their roles in the killing of Shiites in Dujail in 1982, after an assassination attempt against Mr. Hussein, a Sunni.
A radical Sunni group, Ansar al-Sunnah, claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the shooting death of a cousin of the radical Shiite cleric, Moktada al-Sadr. The cousin, Dr. Namat al-Yassin, was shot to death last week near her home in Al Jamiah, in western Baghdad, said Fuad al-Turfi, an aide to Mr. Sadr. The claim of responsibility, posted on a militant Islamic Web site, could not be immediately verified.
A government organization responsible for overseeing Shiite mosques issued a report on Tuesday that offered another window into the sectarian violence that has plagued Iraq since the destruction of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February.
In the two and a half years before then, going back to August 2003, there were only 80 attacks on Shiite mosques, the report said. In the eight months since the Samarra bombing, there have been 69. More than 1,700 people have been killed in such attacks since 2003.
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