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Iraq Transition

Blasts rip Baghdad despite security

Attacks across Iraq claim 32 lives; 15 bodies found in capital

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Men carry the coffin of a relative killed in one of Tuesday's bombings in Baghdad.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Bombings and shootings claimed the lives of at least 32 people Tuesday across Iraq, with most of the incidents in volatile Baghdad -- besieged by daily attacks despite U.S. and Iraqi efforts to establish order.

Police in the capital also found more dumped bodies -- 15 bullet-riddled corpses with most showing signs of torture, a style of slayings that has become a signature of Sunni-Shiite sectarian vendetta killings.

Bloodshed erupted in other outlying provinces -- Anbar in the west, Diyala in the east and Salaheddin in the north, where a bloody attack in Tikrit occurred on the same day the U.S.-led coalition trumpeted a handover of security in that city.

The 4th Iraqi Army Division officially took the lead for military security operations in most of Salaheddin and Tameem provinces north of Baghdad from the U.S. 101st Airborne Division.

"These turnovers from coalition forces to Iraqi security forces reflect the increased operational capacity of the Iraqi security forces," said U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. commander in Iraq Gen. George Casey, who issued a joint statement.

But Baghdad, in contrast, isn't close to being ready for such a transition; the city is mired in sectarian fighting, which some observers, officers and politicians say resembles a civil war.

The United States has sent more troops from Mosul to Baghdad to help Iraqi forces, with the units deploying eight-wheeled Strykers -- regarded as an appropriate armed vehicle for operating in urban areas.

They have to deal with the kinds of daily bombings and shootings that took place on Tuesday.

Police in Baghdad reported blasts across the capital that killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 75. The latest was an 8:30 p.m. roadside bomb in the southern neighborhood of Dora that killed a police commando and wounded two people.

A pair of roadside bombs exploded in the Arabi market Tuesday morning, killing at least 10 people and wounding 69 others, according to police.

Earlier Tuesday, three roadside bombs exploded in central Baghdad's Nahdha district, killing nine people and wounding eight others, including three police officers. At least two of the bombs targeted Iraqi police patrols, an official said.

Also, five people were killed by gunmen who robbed the al-Rashid bank in northern Baghdad and stole the equivalent of $5,000, police said.

Prime minister criticizes U.S.-led raid

U.S.-led troops have been conducting raids against what have been described as death squads. But one raid early Monday in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood drew criticism from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, comments that illustrated the difficulty of securing Baghdad without alienating the man in the street.

At least three people were killed and 15 were wounded, including four children, during clashes that ensued as the raid targeting "punishment and torture" cells unfolded in the Shiite enclave, also a bastion of support for militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Speaking Monday night on Iraqi TV, al-Maliki -- also a Shiite and close to al-Sadr -- said he was "angered and pained" by the operation. He indicated that it was excessive and said it hurt the cause of national reconciliation.

Al-Maliki said "the operation used weapons that are unreasonable in efforts to detain someone -- like using planes." He emphasized that "reconciliation cannot go hand in hand with operations that violate the rights of citizens this way."

In other violence on Tuesday attackers shot dead three people -- one of them a teacher -- in two incidents in Muqdadiya, which is north of the Diyala province capital of Baquba. In Baquba, gunmen killed two people in drive-by shootings.

A police officer was killed and eight people were wounded in two roadside bombings in Tikrit, and an improvised explosive device detonated in Iraq's Anbar province, killing a civilian operating a tractor, the U.S. military said.

Other developments

  • A U.S. soldier who belonged to the same unit as men accused in the rape of an Iraqi and the deaths of members of her family testified Tuesday that the troops faced enormous stress and danger and suffered morale problems. "Everybody was very depressed," said Pfc. Justin Cross at a military hearing looking at the killings in March near Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad. (Full story)
  • A U.S. soldier died Monday from wounds "sustained from enemy action" in Anbar province, the military said Tuesday. The soldier was assigned to the Army's 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division. The number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war stands at 2,585. Seven American contractors also have died in the conflict.
  • An insurgent financial leader, a "primary operator" and three others were detained Monday in a raid in northern Babil province south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Tuesday. The operation took place in Yusufiya, targeting a cell that the military called "direct subordinates of an al Qaeda in Iraq leader reported to be responsible for the killing of 60 men, including 10 Iraqi security forces."
  • The Army again has promoted the only soldier missing in Iraq, more than two years after his disappearance. Keith "Matt" Maupin was promoted Tuesday to staff sergeant, the Army said in a news release.
  • Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan want the mandate of the U.N. mission in Iraq to be extended for 12 months. Zebari urged the move in a written statement Tuesday, while Annan recommended last week that the U.N. Security Council extend the mandate for "another year to help the country in the face of formidable political, security and economic challenges." The United Nations says 396 international civilian and military personnel are in Iraq.
  • CNN's Kim Segal, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Harris Whitbeck contributed to this report.

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