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Archive for Friday, August 18, 2006

Deadly car bombs continue in Baghdad

Iraq to double spending on fuel imports

August 18, 2006

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— Car bombs killed 10 people Thursday in Baghdad as violence persisted in the capital despite the U.S.-led security crackdown. Two more American soldiers were killed in combat, the U.S. command said.

Iraqi officials announced plans to double the amount of money spent to import fuel to combat the country's worst oil and gasoline shortages in years. Much of the fuel crisis is due to insurgent attacks on convoys and on Iraq's fragile pipeline network, Oil Ministry officials said.

Seven people were killed and 15 were wounded when a car bomb exploded at midday near an outdoor market in Sadr City, Baghdad's biggest Shiite district, the Iraqi army general command said.

The blast wrecked shops and stalls but caused relatively few casualties in the normally crowded area because many people had left the area to escape the 120-degree midday heat.

Another car bomb missed an Iraqi police patrol in the Mansour district of western Baghdad but killed three bystanders and wounded a fourth, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

The two American fatalities included one soldier killed Thursday when a roadside bomb exploded near a foot patrol south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The other was a soldier from the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division who died Wednesday of wounds suffered in Anbar province, stronghold of the Sunni Arab insurgency west of Baghdad.

This month, at least 26 U.S. service members have died in Iraq - 17 of them in Anbar.

The Baghdad bombings occurred in areas of the city not yet targeted in a new U.S.-led security crackdown, which began this month with the arrival of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi reinforcements.

Those troops will try to quell Sunni-Shiite violence that has brought the country to the brink of civil war. The operation has focused on four Baghdad neighborhoods - three mostly Sunni areas and one that is predominantly Shiite.

U.S. and Iraqi troops plan to expand to other parts of the city in a campaign to restore order neighborhood by neighborhood. The interior minister announced a partial curfew in unspecified Baghdad neighborhoods this weekend, when hundreds of thousands of Shiites turn out for ceremonies marking the death of Imam Musa Kadhim, an eighth-century Shiite saint.

The security operation follows one of the most violent months since the war began in March 2003. Much of the recent violence was reprisal kidnappings and killings by Sunni and Shiite extremists.

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