Series of attacks on security forces kills 6 in Iraq
BAGHDAD - A series of attacks targeted Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and in the north yesterday, killing at least six people, including a senior member of a group opposing Al Qaeda, Iraqi officials said.
One bomb attached to a police truck exploded near a popular vegetable market in southern Baghdad, killing a Sunni tribal leader, part of a group that has joined forces with Americans against Al Qaeda, and his driver, Iraqi officials said.
The attack occurred about 10:30 a.m. just as the truck was leaving the wholesale market in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Dora, where farmers bring their vegetables to sell, said an Iraqi police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information.
Several high-profile attacks have targeted the US-allied groups, known as Sons of Iraq, as well as Iraqi police, since the approval of a security pact allowing US troops to stay in the country for three years after a UN mandate expires Dec. 31.
The level of fighting in Iraq has dropped significantly, but violence continues, particularly in the north where Sunni extremists have not yet been defeated.
President Bush noted yesterday that the security agreement requires all US troops to withdraw from the country by the end of 2011, and said the war is moving closer to a conclusion.
"The war in Iraq is not yet over, but thanks to these agreements and the courage of our men and women in Iraq, it is decisively on its way to being won," Bush said in his weekly radio address.
In yesterday's attacks, a suicide bomber targeted police recruits near a checkpoint in the northern oil town of Kirkuk, killing at least one and wounding 14 other people, police Brigadier General Burhan Tayeb Taha said.
The explosion occurred during a recruiting drive at the police academy, another police official, Brigadier General Sarhat Qadir, said, adding that the aim was to recruit 1,000 people but only 150 were present when the explosion happened.
Mahdi Shakir, 23, said he had just arrived at the academy with his paperwork when the explosion happened.
"The sound was not big, but I was hit with shrapnel, one piece in my right leg and the other on the right side of my chest," said Shakir, who was being treated at a nearby hospital.
Ali Mahmoud, 24, another recruit, said the blast was so powerful that it threw him to the ground. "Most of the recruits were very young men and they were shivering in fear," he said.
Also yesterday, three other members of a US-allied group were killed and four wounded during an ambush by gunmen at a checkpoint near Baqubah, northeast of Baghdad, a Diyala provincial police officer said.