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American Forces Press Service

Suicide Car Bomb Injures Iraqi Official, Coalition Continues Operations

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2004 - A suicide car bomb exploded outside a senior Iraqi's home in Baghdad today, killing three bodyguards and one woman and heavily damaging 22 vehicles, reported Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt at a Baghdad news briefing today.

News reports said Abdul-Jabbar Youssef al-Sheikhli, Iraqi deputy minister of the interior for natural resources, was slightly injured in the morning blast. "The deputy minister's bodyguards fired at the vehicle as it approached the house, which triggered the explosion," said Kimmitt, deputy operations director for Multinational Force Iraq.

The general also briefed that seven mortar rounds slammed into an area north of downtown Baghdad today, wounding two coalition soldiers and one Iraqi civilian. They were all treated and released, Kimmitt said.

He noted that the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team ended its weapons rewards programs May 21 in Sadr City. "Any illegal weapons not turned in during this amnesty period will now be seized forcibly," Kimmitt said.

The amnesty program netted 3,649 AK-47 assault rifles, 832 rocket rounds, 260 rocket- propelled-grenade launchers, 182 machine guns, more than 7,500 mortar rounds, 2,000 grenades and 200 artillery rounds. "Coalition forces paid out more than $1.3 million to participants," Kimmitt noted.

He said three days ago tribal leaders had met with the brigade commander in an effort to find a peaceful resolution to hostilities in Sadr City. Coalition forces agreed to halt combat patrols for five days to allow tribal leaders to ease tensions. However, Kimmitt noted, small-arms and indirect fires continue upon the coalition there.

"Although the coalition will continue to seek a peaceful resolution, current talks have broken down in Sadr City due to the continued attacks," he said.

The general also reported on the coalition's ongoing offensive operations in the past 24 hours. Kimmitt said the coalition conducted 1,504 patrols and 25 offensive operations, and captured 48 anti-coalition suspects.

In summarizing operational developments, he pointed out coalition forces conducted a joint raid with Iraqi police against personnel suspected of anti-coalition activity in the north central zone of operations May 21. Eight Iraqis were detained for questioning.

Enemy forces attacked an Iraqi Civil Defense Corps checkpoint with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire, he said. "The ICDC returned fire, wounding and capturing eight of the anti-coalition forces," the general continued. "Sadly, four ICDC soldiers were killed and one (was) wounded in this attack."

Coalition forces also detained 18 people and captured some weapons during a series of raids on anti-coalition forces.

The western zone of operations remains secure with no violations of the cease-fire in Fallujah. Coalition forces remain with the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps at the jointly held checkpoint at a location east of the city, Kimmitt said.

He emphasized that coalition forces will continue efforts to increase capabilities of the ICDC and the other Iraqi security forces in the west. Kimmitt noted promising gains set by the Marines and the Iraqi security force in proficiency, professionalism and attention to duty.

He said tribal fighting occurred between two tribes in the southeastern zone of operations May 21. Iraqi police attempted to stop the gun battle between them, with coalition forces and ICDC responding to a request for assistance.

"The incident resulted in three Iraqi police officers wounded and six personnel detained; however, the situation is now calm," Kimmitt said.

In the good news category, Kimmitt said "in the central-south zone of operations the civil military cooperation battalion provided medicines, supplies and medical equipment to several local clinics. Additionally, they completed three civic projects related to the repairing of a primary school, renovation of an electrical supply network and the improvement of a road."

The total cost of the projects was $30,000.


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