3 American troops, 99 Iraqis die

Arrests of suspected insurgents continue in Sunni area of Baghdad

January 11, 2007|By Louise Roug | Louise Roug,Los Angeles Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Suicide bombers, roadside explosions and mortar rounds killed at least 99 Iraqis and wounded 26 across the country yesterday. The U.S. military also announced that three American troops had been killed in Al Anbar province on Tuesday.

In downtown Baghdad, Iraqi and U.S. soldiers continued to search out suspected rebels in the largely Sunni Arab Haifa Street neighborhood, making 15 arrests in the second day of an offensive against insurgents there, Iraqi officials said. On Monday, troops launched a major assault on fighters who had taken control over the three-mile stretch near the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to the Iraqi government complex and the U.S. Embassy.

A Ministry of Defense official said raids and searches of the area concluded yesterday afternoon, and the government troops found four bodies in the rubble - apparent casualties of Tuesday's fighting in which at least 51 suspected militants had previously been reported killed.

Despite the central Baghdad crackdown, 50 bodies were found dumped in a neighborhood near Haifa Street. An additional 10 corpses were found across the Tigris River in the Rusafa neighborhood. All appeared to have been shot, execution-style, Iraqi officials said.

Elsewhere in the downtown area of the capital, a bomb exploded, injuring two. A second bomb damaged water pipes near the Sadr City neighborhood, cutting off supplies to parts of the Shiite slum. Three other civilians were injured by a third bomb. On Tuesday night, a family of four living in the Shiite slum was killed by a mortar round.

Four more mortars struck a house in east Baghdad yesterday, killing two people and injuring two others.

South of the capital in Mahmodiya, two car bombs destroyed a gas station, killing one person and injuring three others, not far from where the City Council was meeting, according to Iraqi officials.

Gunmen attacked a caravan of Shiite pilgrims heading toward the southern city of Karbala, killing 11 and injuring four.

In the north, a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives close to a convoy carrying the mayor of Tall Afar, killing one civilian and injuring three police officers, Iraqi officials said. The mayor survived.

In downtown Tall Afar, a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives killed four civilians and injured a dozen people. In Mosul, police recovered three bodies from various neighborhoods, they said. In Babil, south of Baghdad, authorities recovered five bodies.

Near the Syrian border in Anbar Province, four bodies were found. All bore signs of torture.

In Diyala province, where 1,000 U.S. and Iraqi government troops have engaged in a weeklong offensive, the joint forces recovered caches containing 1,172 Katyusha rockets, 1,039 rocket-propelled grenades and 171 missiles, among other weapons, U.S. commanders said.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have swept through more than 200 square kilometers of farmland and palm groves, zeroing in on a network of tunnels and canals that was the scene of fierce fighting in November.

Louise Roug writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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