Insurgents Strike Iraqi Security Forces
Of the four attacks, the deadliest occurred in northern Baghdad at an army recruitment center. At least 11 people were killed and 14 wounded in the bombing, which took place half a mile from the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to the Iraqi government and U.S. coalition forces.
The recruitment center attack closely mirrored Wednesday’s violence in the Kurdish town of Irbil, where a suicide bomber stood in line with other waiting recruits before blowing himself up. That attack killed 60 Iraqis and wounded 150.
“While we were standing in a line, a man walked past, right up to the heavily guarded entrance gate, as if he wanted to ask the guards a question. Suddenly, an explosion occurred, and I was knocked over,” one recruit, Anwar Wasfi, told the Associated Press.
In western Baghdad, gunmen targeted a two-car police patrol killing nine police officers and wounding six. The gunmen then poured gasoline on one of the cars, burned it, and fled in the second patrol car.
Gunmen also attacked a two-car patrol in southern Baghdad, but there was no confirmation of casualties from this attack.
The fourth attack involved a car bomb detonated outside the house of the deputy interior minister for police affairs, Hikmet Mousa Salman in southern Baghdad. The deputy interior minister was not at home, but one police officer was killed and six were wounded.
The attacks on police and security officials were just the latest in months of targeted assaults. According to the Brookings Institute based in Washington, at least 616 Iraqi police officers have been killed this year as of Monday.
Although the militant group Ansar al-Sunnah claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack in Irbil, no group has claimed responsibility for the four attacks on Thursday.
The attacks are reportedly intended to destabilize the new democratic regime. Interim Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari had hoped to draw support away from the insurgency by including in his Cabinet members of the disaffected Sunni Arab minority, but members of his Shiite-dominated alliance have block those candidates.
Two key posts for the oil and electricity minister posts were expected to be filled by members of the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance. Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, the first oil minister in the former U.S.-appointed Governing Council, will return to the position, and Mihsin Shlash, an independent Shiite lawmaker, will become the electricity minister, according to a Shiite involved in the negotiations, the AP reported.