Mideast edition, Saturday, July 21, 2007

U.S. military officials Friday condemned a pair of attacks on bridges in Anbar province earlier in the week.

In a statement released from its Baghdad headquarters, the military called the attacks “another example of the nature of al-Qaida’s senseless violence that destroys roads and bridges and undermines the economy and prosperity of the Iraqi people.”

Military officials said that a pair of car bombs were used to attack bridges northwest of Udasiyah and west of Haqlaniyah. Alternate road routes have been established, officials said, and repair work has begun on the damaged bridges.

The attacks were the latest in a series targeting bridges in various areas of Iraq. The largest of the bombings came April 12, when a truck bomb brought down the Sarafiyah Bridge, a major span connecting the eastern and western halves of Baghdad. Since then, several similar attacks have taken place, both north and south of the capital.

The latest before this week was on July 1, when a dump truck filled with explosives detonated on a bridge over the Euphrates River near Ramadi.

Military officials have said the bridge bombings were meant to isolate neighborhoods and force travelers to divert onto less-safe roadways.

At the same time, insurgents have been building bridges of their own to smuggle fighters and weapons throughout the country. On Thursday, the U.S. military said it dropped seven bombs on an “improvised steel reinforced bridge” south of Baghdad. The attacks, which took place Sunday, were aimed at “inhibiting insurgent movement,” a news release read.

The bombs used were four 2,000-pound bombs and three 500-pound bombs.

According to an Air Force news release that appears to be about the same incident, F-16 Fighting Falcons dropped GBU-38 bombs on the bridge in Muqdadiyah.

“Also in Al Muqdadiyah, a B-1B dropped multiple GBU-38s and GBU-31s on footbridges being used by insurgents. The bridges were destroyed by the bombs,” the Air Force summary read.

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