Car Bomb Kills Ten in Iraq; Filipino Hostage Freed
The attack in Haditha targeted a government complex that houses the police station, civil defense headquarters and municipal building. In addition to the ten killed in the blast, 40 people were wounded, Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Adnan Abdel-Rahman said.
Thursday’s attack follows a car bombing on Wednesday that killed at least ten people in Baghdad. That bombing marked the first major attack in the capital since the interim Iraqi government took over from U.S.-led occupiers on June 28.
Meanwhile, a Filipino man taken hostage in Iraq told his family in a videotaped message he would be returning home after the Philippines agreed to withdraw its small military contingent from Iraq.
Addressing his family on the tape that aired Thursday, truck driver Angelo de la Cruz said, “Wait for me, I’m coming back to you,” according to Arabic television channel Al-Jazeera’s translation of his remarks.
The group holding him said Thursday it would only free him after the Philippines withdraws the soldiers it has in Iraq by the end of this month, according to a statement read by Al-Jazeera.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Delia Albert said Wednesday her ministry was working to meet the kidnappers’ demands and that the Philippines’ humanitarian contingent had already been reduced to 43 personnel.
Also on Thursday, gunmen opened fire on a car belonging to Iraq’s foreign minister. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari was not in the vehicle at the time, but one foreign ministry official was killed in the attack and two others were injured, Brig. Anwar Mohammed Ahmed of the Iraqi National Guard told the Associated Press.
In the two weeks since Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi took power, his government has emphasized its intention to stop the assassinations, bombings and sabotage that have crippled the rebuilding effort. Allawi announced the latest counter-insurgent step on Thursday, saying his country would form a new security service to quell the attacks.
At a news conference, Allawi said he had asked Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Morocco and Egypt to contribute troops to the multinational force designed to help the country. He also announced that he would be going on his first foreign trip as prime minister to nearby Arab countries.