Other News: Five U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news today, five American soldiers were killed in Iraq in the deadliest single attack in more than a year on U.S. forces. The suicide truck bombing happened in the northern city of Mosul, near the national police headquarters. Two Iraqi policemen also died in the attack, and 18 others were wounded.
In Afghanistan, clashes between U.S.-led forces and the Taliban left 27 insurgents dead. The U.S.-led coalition reported that today. The fighting centered on Helmand and Uruzgan provinces, where the Taliban has staged its resurgence. The U.S. has plans to send an additional 21,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines to Afghanistan in the coming months.
Italy observed a day of mourning for the victims of Monday’s powerful earthquake. Two hundred and five coffins stood side by side at an open-air state funeral in the central Italian town of L’Aquila.
We have a report narrated by Neil Connery of Independent Television News.
NEIL CONNERY: The rows of coffins laid out on the parade ground of L’Aquila’s police station brought home the true scale of this disaster. Good Friday, a national day of mourning across Italy, as the death toll from the country’s worst earthquake in three decades climbed to 289.
Small, white caskets with the bodies of children lay on their parents’ coffins, some with a favorite toy placed on top.
A message sent from Pope Benedict was read out at the funeral mass. His holiness said he shared the mourners anguish. “I ask God,” he said, “to drive away each tear.”
Italy’s Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, joined the mourners. He’s sparked controversy, saying the quake’s survivors should look at having to live under canvas as like being on a camping holiday. He’s described L’Aquila as a ghost town, but has promised the government will do all it can to help the survivors.
Their pain and loss today was clear to see. Italy has been united to remember the victims of the earthquake.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Also today, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi deployed hundreds of troops and police to prevent looting in the quake zone. At least four people have been arrested.
Police in Britain expanded a string of terror searches across the country today. Two days ago, a dozen people were arrested in connection with an alleged terror plot. Nearly all of them are Pakistani nationals who went to Britain on student visas.
Those raids were launched earlier than planned, after Britain’s anti-terrorism chief, Bob Quick, was photographed carrying — so that it was visible — a secret document about the operation. He resigned yesterday.
Two students were killed in an apparent murder-suicide at a community college in Dearborn, Michigan. Police responded to a 911 call that shots were fired at Henry Ford Community College, and the campus was in lockdown. Police discovered the bodies of a man and woman in an empty classroom, along with a shotgun.
A line of severe weather moved across the southern U.S. today with tornado touchdowns in Kentucky and Tennessee. Last night, at least three people were killed after a tornado ripped through the mountain community of Mena, Arkansas. Residents started to clean up in the light of day, as rescue workers searched what was left of area homes. They found no more dead or injured.
Wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma, meanwhile, claimed two lives and destroyed more than 100 homes. Yesterday’s high winds diminished today, making the flames easier for firefighters to battle.