Iraq rebels targeting those who cooperate

Car bombs kill 8 near sheik, Kurdish party

U.S. soldier dies in attack

November 21, 2003|By Christine Spolar and Mike Dorning | Christine Spolar and Mike Dorning,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

RAMADI, Iraq - Insurgents set off two deadly car bombs, one targeting leaders of one of Iraq's largest tribes and the other exploding outside the offices of a Kurdish political party, amid a U.S. campaign aimed at curbing resistance in Iraq.

The blasts, one late Wednesday and the other yesterday morning, killed eight people, including an apparent suicide bomber who died in the bombing yesterday outside the Kirkuk offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. No one claimed responsibility for either attack.

A third explosion occurred Wednesday at a school in the holy city of Karbala, killing three children. Police believe it was caused by a grenade that was taken into the school.

In further violence against U.S. forces, a bomb detonated as a U.S. convoy drove past killed one American soldier and wounded two yesterday near the town of Ramadi, Reuters reported.

Rockets apparently fired from donkey carts this morning slammed into Iraq's Oil Ministry and two hotels used by U.S. workers and foreign journalists in downtown Baghdad. At least one man was injured.

In two nearly simulataneous attacks just after 7 a.m., attackers led donkey carts carrying rocket launchers up to a street near the hotels and another outside the oil ministry, said Col. Peter Mansoor of the U.S. 1st Armored Division.

He said eight rockets hit the oil ministry, although only two of them detonated. He also said one rocket hit the Palestine Hotel and another hit the Sheraton next door.

The four earlier explosions in three cities underscored the risks Iraqis face when they cooperate - or encourage cooperation - with the U.S.-led coalition. The Duleimy tribe in Ramadi and the Kurdish political leadership in Kirkuk have supported coalition efforts to rebuild Iraq. Both groups said that they had received threats.

Still, the Duleimy tribe, one of the largest Sunni Muslim tribes in Iraq, vowed yesterday that the attackers would not deter them or anyone else from working with the Americans.

"The saboteurs simply don't want things to be calm," said Sheik Magid Ali Suleiman, chief of the tribal leaders. "These are cheap people behind these attacks. This incident only makes us more steely and more determined to push ahead."

Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad, has been a stronghold of resistance since the fall of Saddam Hussein in April. This week, however, U.S. commanders had indicated that Ramadi's security situation had improved to the point that troops could transfer authority to the Iraqi police and pull back their patrols by January.

Duleimy tribal leaders, notably city council leader Sheik Amer Al Suleiman, said yesterday that progress had been made after weeks of negotiations with the Americans on how to monitor the region. But they were cautious about any planned troop repositioning.

The other powerful blast occurred yesterday morning in northern Iraq around 10:30 a.m. when a pickup truck, apparently driven by a suicide bomber, blew up outside the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Details about the blast were sketchy, but news agencies reported the office was flattened.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

Killed in Iraq

The latest identifications of American military personnel killed in Iraq as reported by the Department of Defense:

Army Capt. Nathan S. Dalley, 27, Kaysville, Utah; died Monday from a nonhostile gunshot wound in Baghdad; assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany.

Army Spc. Genaro Acosta, 26, Fair Oaks, Calif.; killed Nov. 11 when his vehicle hit and detonated two explosives in Taji; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Associated Press

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