Mosul, Baghdad bombings kill 72 and wound 166
Stars and Stripes March 8, 2008
Three bomb attacks in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul killed at least four people and wounded 46 others Friday, a day after a pair of bombings at a Baghdad market killed some 68 people and wounded at least 120.
While no groups claimed responsibility for the attacks, they bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida in Iraq, which often uses coordinated bombings to cause high numbers of casualties, according to U.S. officials.
The bombings on Friday in Mosul targeted a police station and other areas in the city, which U.S. military officials have called the last major urban stronghold for the Sunni extremist group. According to Iraqi officials, a car bomb at the police station killed three people — including two police — and wounded 32.
The other bombings in the center of the city killed one and injured 14, The Associated Press reported.
The attacks on Thursday night in Baghdad targeted the largely Shiite neighborhood of Karradah.
According to U.S. and Iraqi security officials, the first explosion occurred when a bomb hidden under a vendor stall was detonated amid crowds of shoppers. About five minutes later, a suicide bomber wearing an explosives-laden belt detonated, killing many more.
By Friday morning, officials had put the death toll at 68, and mourners were beginning to bury their dead.
“This was definitely AQI and we know who the cell leader is. He and his dogs are all targets,” Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a U.S. spokesman in Baghdad, was quoted as saying to the AP.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a statement condemning the attacks, saying they “reveal the rooted hatred of terrorists against the Iraqi people.”
Violence in Iraq had been declining since the middle of last year, with American officials attributing that to a cease-fire ordered by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the “surge” of U.S. troops in Iraq and the alignment of armed local civilian groups with the U.S. military.