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Vehicle Explosion At Military Checkpoint Kills Five

The nationality of the troops killed in the attack was not immediately known. The checkpoint where the incident occurred is northwest of Baghdad on a road near the Hadithah Dam where U.S. special operations units were working but where coalition forces are reported to have a limited presence.

“Last night approximately 18 km (11m miles) southwest of the Hadithah Dam in Iraq, a civilian vehicle approached a Coalition checkpoint. A pregnant female stepped out of the vehicle and began screaming in fear, ” U.S. Central Command said in a statement on Friday.

“At this point the civilian vehicle exploded, killing three Coalition force members who were approaching the vehicle and wounding two others. The pregnant female and the driver of the vehicle were also killed in the attack,” the statement said.

During Friday’s Central Command press briefing in Doha, Qatar, U.S. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks characterized the bombing as a terrorist action.

“These are not military actions. These are terrorist actions,” Brooks said

Brooks said it was not possible to know if the woman involved voluntarily took part in the attack.

“We have seen a number of examples that provide us clear evidence that this regime will take civilians, will take women, will take children, and take them to lead an attack,” Brooks said.

“Whether this woman was coerced or not, it’s now impossible to say … some parts of it obviously never will be discovered,” he added.

The Iraqi government has said suicide bombings will be a “routine military policy” and has promised similar attacks, saying that thousands of Arab “martyrs” have come from other nations to help Iraqi President Saddam Hussien’s regime.

Coalition personnel at military checkpoints in Iraq have been on heightened alert since a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives up to a checkpoint near Najaf on Saturday, killing four U.S. Marines who approached the vehicle.

Saddam released a statement praising the suicide bomber posthumously, honoring him with two medals and giving his family a large financial reward, according to the Associated Press.

Edgy troops patrolling coalition checkpoints have killed a number of Iraqi civilians as they attempt to guard against similar attacks. In one of the most deadly incidents earlier this week, at least seven Iraqi women and children were killed when the driver of their vehicle failed to stop as they approached a checkpoint and U.S. troops fired on the vehicle.

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