BAGHDAD -- Gunmen fired on a car carrying a newlywed couple and their families yesterday, wounding the groom, an Iraqi Army captain, and killing his 23-year-old bride. She was one of 12 people who died in violence nationwide.
Algerian authorities, meanwhile, expressed surprise that two of their diplomats were abducted Thursday, saying Algiers has steadfastly refused to take part in the US-led coalition.
The attack on the newlyweds came after Wissam Abdul-Wahab and his bride, Sally, were picked up yesterday by their families after spending their wedding night at a hotel in Baghdad's southern Dora neighborhood.
''My poor Sally, she was very happy yesterday," the bride's mother-in-law, Latifah Mohammed, said through sobs, too distraught to tell her son his new wife was dead.
In a country where violence claims dozens of people every day, it was one more story of heartbreak -- a reminder of how ordinary lives have been shattered by the constant drumbeat of violence and death.
Insurgents frequently target Iraqi forces seen as collaborating with US efforts in the country. Abdul-Wahab's brother, Ahmed, who was wounded in the drive-by shooting, said he believed assailants came after them because he is a police lieutenant in Fallujah while Wissam is a captain in the Iraqi Army.
''We don't have any enemies to be attacked like this, but I'm sure that they targeted us just because my brother is an army officer and I'm a police officer . . . But I'm sure God will get revenge for us from those criminals who target Iraqi security forces."
Lying in a hospital bed as doctors removed fragments of bone and shrapnel from his right hand, a bloodied and bandaged Abdul-Wahab begged his family to tell him what had happened to his wife. ''What happened to us? How is Sally? She is dead, right? Tell me the truth, please. I have the feeling she is dead," he said, sobbing.
Ahmed, 28, reassured him gently: ''She is fine. She is fine, believe me," he said as his eyes filled with tears.
Grimacing in pain in Yarmouk Hospital's emergency ward, Wissam Abdul- Wahab, 25, told the Associated Press that he and his bride were married Thursday at his parents' home in Dora.
''My brother came this morning with a taxi driver to pick us up from Babylon Hotel," he said. ''As we arrived at our home, a car with gunmen inside sprayed us with machine guns. Suddenly I lost sight of everything and then found myself here."
The couple got engaged a year ago and planned a modest wedding because one of the groom's brothers was killed last fall during a US military offensive against Fallujah. ''Wissam was in love with Sally for three years and when he saved up good money, he told us that he was dreaming of making Sally his wife," Ahmed Abdul- Wahab said.
Also yesterday, the US military announced that a Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team-8 of the Second Marine Division was killed the day before in a roadside bombing while conducting combat operations west of Baghdad.
The chief of Algeria's mission in Iraq, charge d'affaires Ali Belaroussi, 62, and another Algerian diplomat, Azzedine Belkadi, 47, were abducted Thursday along with their driver in west Baghdad's upscale Mansour district.
Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed Al-Khafaji told Al-Jazeera television that the Algerian envoy had refused Iraqi offers to provide him with bodyguards, saying he didn't need protection because ''Algeria's relationship with the Iraqis is good."
The kidnappings brought to five the number of key diplomats from Islamic countries targeted in Baghdad in less than three weeks.