Explosions Rock U.S. Compound in Baghdad; Four Injured
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jim Cassella said four people were injured in the attacks. He added that it was not immediately clear whether the victims were military or civilian personnel or whether they were Americans.
The attack hit the one-square-mile, U.S.-controlled “Green Zone,” one of Saddam Hussein’s former palace complexes that now includes the Al Rasheed Hotel where most U.S. workers have been staying and the headquarters of the Coalition Provisional Authority headed by Paul Bremer.
On Oct. 26, attackers fired rockets at a hotel in the complex while Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying there, killing a U.S. soldier and wounding at least 15 people.
“The blasts occurred outside of the [Coalition Provisional Authority] compound. It was not clear where the attacks were launched from, but we suspect it was with mortars or perhaps missiles,” Cassella told Reuters.
An Iraqi guard at the scene told Reuters that three explosions hit the compound itself, but a U.S. Army spokesman in Baghdad could not confirm that.
“There were three explosions in central Baghdad but we don’t know where,” the spokesman told Reuters.
Tuesday was the second straight night of heavy explosions in the center of the Iraqi capital. About three mortars struck downtown late Monday, with at least one hitting a U.S. Army base. Those blasts caused no damage or casualties.
Also on Tuesday, a roadside bombing killed one soldier and wounded two others, all from the 1st Armored Division, the U.S. command said. Another soldier was killed Monday and one was wounded when their vehicle struck a land mine in Tikrit.
Those deaths brought the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq in November to more than 20. Fifteen of those soldiers died in the Sunday crash of a Chinook transport helicopter that was shot down west of Baghdad. The number of dead in the helicopter crash had been widely reported at 16, but Army officials reiterated the smaller figure on Tuesday.
Responding to the increasingly dangerous situation in Iraq, Spain announced Tuesday it is withdrawing the bulk of its diplomatic staff from Iraq for security reasons.
Spain is the third coalition country, along with Bulgaria and the Netherlands, to pull diplomats out of Iraq in the past two weeks amid mounting violence against foreigners.