6 GIs hurt before assailant is killed; elsewhere, more blasts hit Baghdad
by msnbc.com news services
on Nov. 12, 2008.
BAGHDAD - An Iraqi soldier shot dead at least two U.S. troops Wednesday at a joint security station where Iraqi and American forces operate side-by-side, Iraqi police and a mortuary official said.
The shooting, which took place in northern Iraq's volatile Nineveh province, came after a series of bombings shook the capital Baghdad for the third straight day, killing 16 people and wounding dozens, police said. The bombings were part of an upswing of violence in the capital this month that has set back recent security gains.
In the face of the heightened violence in Baghdad, the Iraqi military said it was taking measures to curb "the increasing number of terrorist attacks" in the city. Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the measures would include stepped up intelligence gathering and pre-emptive strikes on suspected extremists.
In the Nineveh incident, the Iraqi soldier opened fire on the Americans after a quarrel broke out between them, Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari said.
He said the Americans then killed the Iraqi soldier, who was identified as Barzan al-Hadidi.
The U.S. military said it could not confirm details about the incident until an investigation is completed.
Blasts upset calm
In Baghdad, a car bomb and a roadside bomb exploding in quick succession killed 12 people and wounded 60 in the eastern New Baghdad district, police said.
The car bomb targeted a police patrol, then a roadside bomb killed and wounded those who had gathered at the blast site, police said.
The blasts were the latest in a series of attacks in Baghdad. A car bomb killed four people and wounded 13 in the Shaab district of northern Baghdad earlier in the day, police said. Another bomb in the same area wounded seven people.
The latest attacks follow two days of morning rush hour blasts in Baghdad that killed more than 30 people and wounded some 70.
Violence had fallen sharply in the capital before this month. But in the first nine days of November, there were at least 19 bombings in Baghdad, compared with 28 for all of October and 22 in September, according to an Associated Press tally.
Many of the attacks have targeted Iraqi police and army patrols, as well as government officials heading to work and commuters.
Trying to hammer out security deal
The rise in violence comes as U.S. and Iraqi officials try to hammer out a final agreement on a security deal that would keep U.S. troops in Iraq until the end of 2011. The security pact has drawn sharp criticism, especially from within the majority Shiite community.
The current U.N. mandate authorizing the U.S. presence in Iraq expires at the end of December. Without a security agreement or a new U.N. mandate, the U.S. military would have to cease operations in Iraq.
In an attempt to derail the pact, 10 Iraqi insurgent groups have agreed to ramp up attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremists.
But it is not clear who is responsible for the recent attacks in Baghdad.
In the volatile northern city of Mosul, unidentified gunmen killed two sisters from a Christian family as they were waiting in front of their house for a ride to work, police said. The women's mother was injured in the attack.
The attack in Mosul — an ethnically mixed city of Kurds, Christians and Arabs — comes after about 13,000 Christians fled the city last month in the face of threats and attacks from extremists. Some families have started returning to the city, although tensions linger.
Mosul has seen a spike in violence in recent months as the ethnic groups vie for power, and U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces continue to wage an intense battle with insurgents in the city.
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