45 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Guerrilla Attacks
Restaurant Bombing Mocks Operation Lightning
The Associated Press reports that a guerrilla wearing a bomb belt walked into a restaurant near the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad that was popular with Iraqi police and soldiers, and detonated his payload, killing 23 and wounding 45. Patrick Quinn writes,
‘ The Baghdad bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest at the Ibn Zanbour restaurant, 400 yards from the main gate of the heavily fortified Green Zone _ U.S. and Iraqi government headquarters. The cafe was popular with Iraqi police and soldiers. The dead included seven police officers. The bodyguards of Iraqi Finance minister Ali Abdel-Amir Allawi and 16 other police were injured, police and hospital officials said. The minister was not in the restaurant. ‘
Quinn’s details make me wonder if the finance minister sometimes did eat at Ibn Zanbour, and if the guerrillas thought he might be there. At the very least, wounding a man’s body guards is a pretty obvious threat against his person. Allawi is related to current Vice Premier Ahmad Chalabi and to former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. A number of high Iraqi government officials have been assassinated in the past two years, and even more middle managers.
It seems obvious that this massive bombing at a key strategic site, near the Green Zone, at a place frequented by the bodyguards, police and troops of the elected government officials, was intended as a refutation of claims made by Interior Minister Bayan Jabr that the sweep of southwestern Sunni neighborhoods in the capital, called “Operation Lightning,” has impeded the ability of the guerrillas to operate in Baghdad.
Al-Zaman says that a car bomb near Kazimiyah killed two policemen and two civilians and wounded 9 others.
In the Amariyah district of Baghdad, 7 unidentified corpses were discovered on Sunday.
Wire services reported that two policemen were gunned down in north Baghdad. It adds,
“Three Iraqi soldiers were killed and 13 wounded in a suicide car bombing outside a former palace of ousted leader Saddam Hussein in Tikrit now used as a US military base.”
Guerrillas fighting back against current Marine operations in Western Iraq killed one Marine on Sunday. The US claimed to have killed or captured dozens of guerrillas, some of them foreigners. Al-Zaman reports that the Sunni hardline organization, the Association of Muslim Scholars, claimed that US bombing and operations have killed women and children and destroyed homes and other edifices in the area around Karabila and Qaim. Hamdi al-Alusi, a spokesman for the local hospital, said he had seen 10 corpses brought in and that 17 wounded had been treated. He said most of the victims were women and children. A spokesman for the International Red Crescent said that 300 families in Karabila have been left without food or water.
Two former senior Baathists have been shot down near the Shiite holy city of Karbala recently.
Mortar attacks on a police station in Mosul left a 12 year old child dead and 5 other persons wounded.