Iraqi killed by bomb meant for U.S. troops

3 civilians are injured in blast on previously peaceful street of shops


BAGHDAD, Iraq -- An Iraqi civilian was killed and three others were wounded yesterday morning when a homemade bomb, apparently intended for a convoy of U.S. soldiers, exploded on a crowded commercial street in central Baghdad.

The explosion raised the tension in an already nervous city because the street, Inner Karada, is considered one of the safest in the capital. There, families shop for everything from television sets to jewelry to gourmet coffee.

Also yesterday, the incoming head of the Iraqi Governing Council, Adnan Pachachi, said the assembly was sending a mission to the United Nations to ask the organization to play a role during the formation of a transitional government in Iraq.

Pachachi said that he would make the journey to New York on Jan. 19 accompanied by two or three other council members. The group intends to meet with Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Yesterday's fatal blast went off at 8:30 a.m., during rush hour, on a street crowded with commuters in cars and on foot.

The bomb exploded just before three U.S. military Humvees reached the spot along the median where it had been planted. The blast left the soldiers unscathed, but it killed an Iraqi man who was walking on the opposite side of the street.

The victim, identified as Muhammad Sadim al-Zuweidy of the al-Jadida neighborhood of Baghdad, lay face-up on the street corner in a pool of blood, his forehead torn by shrapnel. Bystanders took a burlap sack used to hold potato chips from a convenience store and draped it over the body.

"He was shaking, shaking, then he died," said Kasim Mustafa Khudair, the owner of a telephone kiosk on the corner. "The American vehicles passed by. They didn't have a scratch."

The front windows of Khudair's shop were shattered, along with those of other stores in the area. Pieces of concrete lay scattered across the road where the bomb had detonated.

"I expected that one day a bomb would explode here," Khudair said. "It's happened everywhere else in Baghdad. We knew one day it would happen here."

The targeted Humvees stopped several hundred feet past the bomb site and blocked the street. Soldiers, their M-16s raised, their eyes darting from one Iraqi to another, scanned the crowd that quickly formed.

An Iraqi man lay in the flatbed of one Humvee, his white shirt covered in blood and a chunk of flesh ripped from his right arm. A soldier bandaged the arm. Another soldier pushed away two Western women trying to videotape the scene.

"There's a reason why this has happened!" one of the women yelled. "Go home! People are after the Iraqis because of you!"

Two Iraqi men supported an older man spattered with blood as he limped across the street.

The crowd that had gathered around the dead man picked up the body and placed it in a wooden coffin that someone brought. They draped a black cloth over the head and marched the coffin into a nearby mosque. They slammed the wooden doors behind them.

Killed in Iraq

The latest identifications of American military personnel killed in Iraq:

Army Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco, 28, Texas; killed Sunday in Qaryat Ash Shababi by an explosive; assigned to 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division; Fort Bragg, N.C.

Army Pvt. Rey D. Cuervo, 24, Laguna Vista, Texas; killed Sunday by an explosive in Baghdad; assigned to 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment; Fort Polk, La.

Army Sgt. Curt E. Jordan Jr., 25, Greenacres, Wash.; died Sunday of noncombat injuries near Bayji; assigned to the 14th Combat Engineer Battalion, 555th Combat Engineer Group; Fort Lewis, Wash.

Army Staff Sgt. Michael Sutter, 28, Tinley Park, Ill.; died Friday while attempting to defuse a homemade bomb that exploded; assigned to the 745th explosive ordnance detachment Michigan Army National Guard unit; Camp Grayling, Mich.

- Associated Press

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