The first car bomb exploded in western Baghdad near the fortified Green Zone, headquarters for the interim Iraqi government and the U.S. embassy, at an Iraqi security forces recruitment center, killing 15 people and wounding 80.
“I felt myself flying through the air,” Ussama Muhammad, a 30-year-old lieutenant, told The New York Times. “I saw my shoes come off my feet and strike the wall. I was between life and death. I saw a reddish scene in front of my eyes, and I discovered I was bleeding from my head, and bodies were scattered all over the place. There was the smell of burning flesh.”
An hour later a second bomb exploded when a U.S. military convoy drove along Sadoun Street, a major road east of the Tigris River, near the Baghdad Hotel.
A small truck charged a group of sport utility vehicles and detonated, killing at least six people and injuring a dozen, according to an Interior Ministry spokesman.
“I saw a head in one place and a leg in another. This was a suicide bombing,” one witness told Reuters.
The third bomb exploded in the northern city of Mosul outside a primary school, killing five people, including two children. The car may have detonated prematurely, because there was no obvious target in the area, according to Iraqi police officers, Reuters reported.
The U.S. military continued its push to control rebel strongholds, launching an airstrike on the outskirts of Fallujah at 1 a.m. In a written statement, the military said about 25 guerilla fighters were storing weapons and holding training sessions in a building they called a safehouse for insurgents. They added “multiple measures were taken to ensure no innocent civilians were present at the time of the strike.”
Doctors at the main hospital in Fallujah said at least 11 people were killed in the airstrike, including four women, The New York Times reported.
During the weekend, the military campaign to take control of the central city of Samarra continued. According to U.S. forces, 125 rebels were killed and 88 captured.
Meanwhile, two American soldiers were shot and killed Sunday in Baghdad, the U.S. military said.
“The soldiers were engaged by small arms fire at a joint traffic control point Sunday afternoon,” the statement said.
Islamic militants also released a video Monday showing the killing of two hostages — one who identified as an Italian and the other as a Turk of Iraqi origin. Blindfolded and kneeling in front of a ditch, the two men were shot and a militant in the video accused the men of spying, Reuters reported.
An Iraqi militant group, however, did release two Indonesian women hostages on Monday to the United Arab Emirates embassy in Baghdad.