|SLUG: 2-309097 Iraq Blast Update (L)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=IRAQ / BLASTS (L-UPDATE)
INTRO: Sirens blared throughout Baghdad as four suicide bombers attacked three police stations and a Red Cross building, leaving three-dozen people dead and more than 200 wounded in less than two hours. V-O-A's Greg LaMotte in Baghdad reports a fifth would-be suicide bomber was shot and taken into custody.
TEXT: Suicide bombing number-one occurred at an Iraqi police station at 8:30 in the morning in Baghdad.
Five minutes later, a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-filled ambulance into a cement blockade near a Red Cross building. The impact of the explosion shattered windows in buildings blocks away, and left a layer of broken glass on sidewalks and streets.
Less than half an hour after the Red Cross bombing, another Iraqi police station was attacked by a suicide bomber. The explosion ripped a gaping hole in the police station.
Twenty-minutes later another police station was attacked by a suicide bomber, and one hour later Iraqi police foiled what would have been the fifth suicide bombing of the morning when they shot a would-be attacker and took him into custody.
U-S and Iraqi officials said that suspect was from Syria, leading them to believe all five incidents may have been carried out by foreign fighters.
Army Brigadier General Mark Hertling said Sunday's rocket attack against the al-Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad appeared to have been carried out by Saddam Hussein loyalists. The latest suicide bombings, he said, appear to have the marking of foreign fighters.
/// HERTLING ACT ///
There are indicators that certainly these attacks seem to have the mode of operation of foreign fighters. They are not something we have seen in the past with the former regime loyalists, the ability to conduct suicide bombing.
/// END ACT ///
Meanwhile, a U-S soldier was killed at one of the police stations attacked by a suicide bomber and six others were wounded.
The first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan was the worst single day of killings since major combat operations ended May 1st. In August, a suicide bomber attacked the U-N headquarters in Baghdad killing 22 people.
U-S military officials acknowledge that, while it is almost impossible to prevent suicide bombings, they say the amount of damage caused by such bombers can be limited through tighter security measures. (SIGNED)
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