Iraq Blast Kills 10, Headless Body Found

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Attackers detonated a car bomb near police and government buildings in the western city of Haditha on Thursday, killing 10 Iraqis, while the prime minister said he would create a new security service geared toward halting the insurgency.

A decapitated body in an orange jumpsuit was discovered in the Tigris River in northern Iraq on Wednesday night, the military said. Although it was not identified, there were suspicions it could be that of a Bulgarian driver taken hostage recently and slain.

In an interview with Associated Press Television News, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said terrorists aiming to undermine Iraq's new government are determined not only to kill civilians and soldiers but to destroy the nation's infrastructure.

"The terrorists are so evil that they are not only satisfied by hitting the targets, and killing and inflicting loss of life" but are also bent on destroying the quality of life by attacking Iraq's oil and other vital industries, he told AP.

Also, militants holding a Filipino truck driver hostage said they would release him when the last Filipino soldier leaves Iraq, according to a statement read on Arab television.

The statement on the station Al-Jazeera followed a video of the captive, Angelo dela Cruz, saying he was coming home soon and thanking his government for agreeing to withdraw peacekeepers. The Philippines' withdrawal should happen by the end of the month.

Fingerprints from the body found Wednesday night were sent to Bulgaria for identification, the Bulgarian government said.

Militants led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. a Jordanian accused of attacks and kidnappings in Iraq and elsewhere, killed one of two Bulgarian truck drivers it was holding hostage, the Bulgarian government confirmed Wednesday. The group, which has demanded the release of Iraqi detainees, said early Wednesday it would kill the second man in 24 hours. The deadline passed with no word on his fate.

Elsewhere, gunmen opened fire on cars belonging to Iraq's foreign minister, killing one official and wounding two others, an Iraqi National Guard official said. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari was not in the two-car convoy at the time the attack about 65 miles south of Kirkuk.

Police apparently thwarted an attack in Karbala, chasing a car after receiving a tip it was filled with explosives. Two militants inside detonated their bomb, killing themselves but causing no other casualties.

The violence was the latest in a series of deadly attacks by insurgents since the U.S.-led coalition handed sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government; 65 people have been killed since the June 28 handover, 14 of them in a July 6 car bombing in the town of Khalis.

On Wednesday, a suicide car bombing in Baghdad killed at least 10 people near Iraqi government headquarters, and insurgents assassinated a provincial governor in an ambush of his convoy.

At a news conference, Allawi said the new General Security Directorate "will annihilate those terrorist groups, God willing."

The prime minister said he had asked Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Morocco and Egypt to contribute troops to the multinational force here to help him secure the country. He also announced that he would make his first foreign tour as prime minister to nearby Arab countries.

The attack in Haditha, known as a stronghold of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s ousted regime, hit a government complex housing police, civil defense and municipal offices. The blast also wounded 40 people, Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Adnan Abdel-Rahman said.

Police and government officials have been targeted repeatedly by insurgents, who view them as puppets of U.S. forces.

Allawi's planned new security service appears to be another step in the fledgling government's efforts to stem the violence plaguing Iraq since the fall of Saddam's regime 15 months ago.

In remarks published in the al-Hayat newspaper, Allawi was quoted as saying Iraqi forces have arrested al-Qaida operatives and is seeing increasing coordination between Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s terror network and Saddam loyalists.

He said those arrested included al-Zarqawi's driver.

Allawi also said millions of dollars are being channeled by Saddam loyalists in neighboring countries help al-Qaida-linked militants such as al-Zarqawi carry out terror attacks.

Since taking power two weeks ago, Allawi's government has made clear it intends to crack down on militants who have caused chaos with assassinations, bombings and sabotage. It has passed emergency measures giving Allawi power to declare curfews and impose limited martial law.

Insurgents detonated a massive car bomb Wednesday at a checkpoint just outside the so-called Green Zone, former home to the U.S. occupation government and current site of Iraq's interim government and the U.S. and British embassies. The blast ripped a crater in the road and killed 10 Iraqis, many waiting in line to apply for government jobs, the Health Ministry said. The U.S. military said 11 were killed.

Hours later, insurgents tossed hand grenades and fired machine guns at a convoy transporting Nineveh Gov. Osama Youssef Kashmoula, killing him and two of his guards. Four attackers also were killed in the ambush north of Baghdad.

Elsewhere in Iraq:

_Saboteurs blasted a crude oil pipeline feeding into a main artery in northern Iraq, halting exports to Turkey and directing another blow to the country's key industry.

_ A rocket hit a home in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, killing four people and wounding three, police and hospital officials said. A second rocket struck a home in a former army base used by Kurdish refugees, injuring four people.

_A Saudi company employing an Egyptian driver held hostage said it would stop work in Iraq to win his freedom but not pay ransom. Faisal al-Naheet, whose company is a subcontractor for Al-Jarie Transport, said kidnappers were demanding a $1 million for the hostage.

_Two U.S. soldiers were killed and two injured when their vehicle rolled over in northern Iraq, the military said Thursday.


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