Baghdad blast kills 10 at Jordanian Embassy
U.S. soldiers killed in firefight
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- After a brief lull this week, deadly violence aimed at military and associated targets in Iraq resurged dramatically when a car bomb exploded outside the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad Thursday, killing at least 10 people -- and a firefight claimed the lives of two U.S. soldiers.
As many as 40 people were wounded in the embassy blast, according to Lt. Col. Eric Nantz, a U.S. military spokesman.
"We had persons unknown, pull a vehicle in front of the embassy -- the Jordanian Embassy -- stop the vehicle, exit the vehicle and walk away, and the vehicle sometime later was detonated with a large amount explosives inside," said Bernard Kerik, former New York police commissioner who is overseeing the reconstruction of the Iraqi police force. (CNN Access: Kerik on security efforts)
Crowds rushed the embassy after Thursday's explosion, looting parts of the facility and burning pictures of Jordan's present King Abdullah II and his father, the late King Hussein. U.S. officials then cordoned off the area. (On the Scene: Harris Whitbeck, Gallery: Scenes from the explosion site)
The wreckage of six cars burned outside the embassy as makeshift fire crews worked to douse flames at the shattered facade of the compound. (Full story)
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of American ground forces in Iraq said U.S. forces in the area responded as soon as the attack occurred.
Sanchez said he couldn't provide many details about the attack, which he called the most significant against a "soft target" since Baghdad fell. He said the blast shows "we've got some terrorists operating here."
"We're still in a conflict zone," he said at a news conference Thursday. "We've got to join together to put an end to this violence that exists here in Iraq."
Guarding embassies is mostly the task of the diplomats' own nations and Iraqis, not American forces, Lt. Gen. Norton Schwartz of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. "We are not necessarily going to guard foreign embassies."
There are about 33,000 Iraqi police on duty throughout Iraq, he said, with several thousand in the capital city.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, and there is no evidence that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was behind the attack, he said.
Jordanian officials said employees inside the embassy were only slightly injured.
They added that the government of Jordan in Amman strongly condemned the attack and was determined to support Iraqis in their quest for security and stability. (Jordan: Embassy bombers 'cowards')
At least four Iraqi civilians were also killed, CNN Correspondent Rym Brahimi reported from Baghdad.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell cautioned, "I don't think anyone should have expected" that the deaths of Qusay and Uday, Saddam's sons, "have completely resolved the security situation.
"When in due course we learn the fate of Saddam Hussein, I wouldn't expect that, in and of itself, to solve the security problem," Powell said at a news conference in Washington.
U.S. soldiers killed in firefight
In a separate incident, two U.S. soldiers were killed in a firefight late Wednesday in Baghdad's Rasheed neighborhood, according to U.S. Central Command. The soldiers from the 1st Armored Division were evacuated to the 407th Forward Support Battalion medical facility.
One soldier died on scene, the other died later from wounds received in the incident. An interpreter was also wounded in the incident and received treatment at the medical facility. The incident happened around 11 p.m. (3 p.m. EDT).
They were the first U.S. military deaths from hostile fire since a soldier was killed Friday. Sanchez noted that the level of attacks had decreased over the last week. A total of 55 U.S. troops have been killed as a result of hostile fire since May 1. A U.S. civilian contractor was also killed Tuesday when his vehicle ran over an explosive device.
In yet another event, at least one U.S. soldier and an unknown number of Iraqis were wounded Thursday when an improvised explosive device was detonated and a firefight occurred in the Karada district of Baghdad, witnesses said.
Two U.S. military Humvees were in the district when the explosive was set off, apparently targeting the vehicles. Witnesses said someone fired a rocket-propelled grenade from a building at one of the Humvees.
One of the Humvees responded by firing at the building, which caught on fire. Firetrucks were at the scene and women and children were evacuated, witnesses said.
Witnesses also reported that a medical helicopter tried to land but could not touch down because of the fighting.
The military has confirmed only the blast from the improvised explosive device.
• Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, said he thinks Saddam is "on the run" and believes "he's moving every three to four hours," making it impossible for him to direct guerrilla operations. The 4th Infantry Division has been conducting raids in the Tikrit area, which is Saddam's ancestral homeland. (Full story)
• A former Iraqi army general suspected as a leader of an anti-coalition cell was detained with nine others in a 1st Armored Division raid on a Baghdad house, Central Command said Thursday. Coalition forces also seized weapons and ammunition in 18 raids conducted during a 24-hour period.
• Iraqi bomb victim Ali Abbas, who lost his arms in a U.S. bombing raid that also killed his parents early in the Iraq war, traveled to Great Britain on Thursday for artificial limb surgery. Fourteen-year-old Ahmed Mohammed Hamza -- who lost his left leg below the knee and his right hand -- was also being taken to London for treatment. Kuwait has promised to pay for the boys' medical care until they are adults. (Full story)
• Russia wants a new U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq that would pave the way for recognizing the Iraq's interim governing council as the country's temporary official government and would set a date for creating a new constitution and holding elections, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in an interview with the Interfax news agency. But a U.S. envoy said the United States wants to continue with the current resolution.
• A soldier from the 101st Airborne Division died when he fell from a roof in Mosul Tuesday night, Central Command said Wednesday. In Kuwait, a U.S. soldier assigned to Coalition Forces Land Component Command died Tuesday from an apparent heart attack.