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Bomb Blast Kills 4 Americans, 6 Iraqi Civilians in Baghdad

By Suzanne Presto
24 June 2008

Two Coalition soldiers and two civilians were killed in an explosion early Tuesday inside the District Advisory Council building in eastern Baghdad's Sadr City. VOA's Suzanne Presto reports on the attack from the northern city of Irbil.

A U.S. military spokesman for the Baghdad area, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Stover, says it appears that a bomb was planted inside the District Advisory Council building in a southern neighborhood of Sadr City.

Lieutenant Colonel Stover tells VOA that two U.S. soldiers and two civilians who served alongside Coalition forces were killed in the attack. He says one Coalition soldier and three members of the local advisory council were also wounded.

The military says the explosion occurred during the fourth meeting of the Iraqi-led district council.

"We believe that the target was not only the American soldiers themselves, but that there was a high ranking, what we call a DAC, but which means district advisory council member who was the target of the attack. He had been helping coalition force soldiers to improve the quality of life for his own residents," he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Stover says the high ranking council member was not among those killed.

Lieutenant Colonel Stover says coalition forces caught one suspect fleeing the scene on a motorbike, and two others were caught at the scene immediately after the blast. He says all three tested positive for explosive residue.

Lieutenant Colonel Stover says the blast will not deter the military.

"Having talked to the soldiers who are on the ground there, that we are definitely going to continue to remain resolved, to support the Iraqi people in the area, to ensure that they have a better quality of life and that this terrorist act is not going to sit there and hinder us in any way," added Lieutenant Colonel Stover.

Eastern Baghdad's Sadr City was the scene of a major Iraqi-led offensive earlier this year. Hundreds of people were killed in the Shi'ite militant stronghold after fighting flared there between militants and soldiers in late March. But the area has been largely quiet since mid-May, when anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a truce in the neighborhood.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Defense said violence in Iraq has fallen to a four-year low, but it cautioned that Iraq's security gains are "fragile, reversible and uneven."

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