Transfer of power doesn't diminish attacks in Iraq

Road blasts plentiful

Iraqi official murdered

July 02, 2004|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents staged deadly attacks across this sweltering country yesterday in their tenacious efforts to drive out U.S. troops and their allies.

Also, about 7:30 this morning a huge explosion rocked central Baghdad just outside two heavily fortified hotels where U.S. government contractors and western journalists are housed.

The strikes showed that the insurgency was robust and its anger still raging, despite the formal transfer of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government Monday and the formal beginning of Iraqi legal proceedings against Saddam Hussein yesterday.

A U.S. military official said the average number of daily attacks had remained steady through the transfer. Guerrillas are using the same tactics they have been honing in the past few months, from planting roadside bombs to assassinating Iraqi officials seen as collaborators.

In the northern city of Mosul, a roadside bomb ripped into a military convoy on the southern outskirts of the city, killing a U.S. soldier and wounding two others, the U.S. military said. It also said a Marine had been killed in western Iraq, possibly around the volatile city of Fallujah, but gave no details.

At least 855 U.S. soldiers have died since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Television footage of the Mosul bombing showed U.S. soldiers in full battle gear and Iraqi policemen carrying AK-47s standing amid wreckage as a wounded Iraqi man was loaded into an ambulance.

U.S. commanders in some provinces said insurgents had recently increased their use of roadside bombs.

At least one such bomb exploded in Baghdad yesterday, killing three Iraqis in the Khadra neighborhood, near a perilous stretch of highway that leads to the airport, said Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman, an Interior Ministry official.

A different kind of bomb killed Ihsan Karim, the head of the Finance Ministry's audit board, said Abdul-Rahman. A magnetic device hidden under a car in Karim's convoy exploded after 8 a.m. in the Yarmouk neighborhood in central Baghdad, the colonel said.

Karim died of his wounds at a hospital, a relative said. Two bodyguards were also killed; two bystanders were wounded.

Firefighters at the scene doused the area with a hose, as Iraqi policemen and armed men without uniforms, probably private bodyguards, stood around a silver sedan whose rear and side windows had been completely shattered.

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