Suicide Attacker Hits Iraqi Army Checkpoint

Thursday, April 26th 2007, 7:34 am
By: News On 6

BAGHDAD (AP) _ A suicide car bomb attack on an Iraqi army checkpoint in northern Iraq killed 10 soldiers Thursday, police said, and the U.S. military announced that a senior U.S. officer has been charged with nine offenses, including aiding the enemy.

In other developments, U.S. ground and air forces killed four suspected insurgents in a battle north of Baghdad, and two Iraqi women and two children apparently died in the crossfire.

Thirteen civilians also were killed and 32 wounded in three other bomb attacks in Iraq, police said.

The Iraqi army checkpoint attack, which also wounded 10 Iraqi soldiers and five civilians, occurred about 9 a.m. in Khalis, 50 miles north of Baghdad.

The city is in Diyala province, which has seen some of the worst violence recently as mostly Sunni militants are believed to have fled to the area since U.S. and Iraqi troops launched a security crackdown in Baghdad on Feb. 14.

On Wednesday, four Iraqi police officers were killed when a suicide bomber struck a police station in the Diyala city of Balad Ruz, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad. Two days earlier, a double-suicide bombing struck a paratrooper outpost in the province, killing nine U.S. troops. An al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said a senior U.S. officer has been charged with nine offenses, including aiding the enemy and fraternizing with the daughter of a detainee while he commanded a military police detachment at an American detention facility near Baghdad.

Army Lt. Col. William H. Steele was accused of giving ``aid to the enemy'' by providing an unmonitored cell phone to detainees.

Steele was the commander of the 451st Military Police Detachment at Camp Cropper, a U.S. detention center on the western outskirts of Baghdad where former leader Saddam Hussein was held, when the offenses allegedly occurred between October 2005 and February, military spokesman Lt. Col. James Hutton said.

Steele was being held in Kuwait pending a grand jury investigation, Hutton said.

The other charges included unauthorized possession of classified information, fraternizing with the daughter of a detainee, maintaining an inappropriate relationship with an interpreter, storing classified information in his quarters and possessing pornographic videos, the military said. Steele also was charged with improperly marking classified information, failing to obey an order and failing to fulfill his obligations in the expenditure of funds, the military said.

Camp Cropper, located near the Baghdad airport, replaced the notorious Abu Ghraib prison as the main detention facility in the capital area. Saddam was held there, along with other members of his ousted regime, until his Dec. 30 execution.

In other violence Thursday, four insurgents were killed as the U.S. targeted suspected al-Qaida in Iraq militants near Taji, a U.S. air base 12 miles north of Baghdad, the U.S. command said.

It said two women and two children were believed to have been killed during the fighting.

``Unfortunately al-Qaida in Iraq continues to use women and children in their illegal activities,'' U.S. military spokesman Christopher Garver said.

Also Thursday, two suicide bombers attacked an office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Massoud Barzani, leader of the autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, killing three of its guards and wounding five, police said.

The casualties could have been higher if guards had not opened fire on the two attackers, forcing them to detonate their explosives at least 50 yards from the office, police said. The attack occurred in Zumar, a town 45 miles west of Mosul, the capital of Ninevah province. It was the second suicide attack this week aimed at the KDP in that area.

In central Baghdad, a roadside bomb missed a passing police patrol on Thursday morning but killed four civilians and wounded nine in a commercial district, police said.

At 3:45 p.m., a parked car bomb exploded near Baghdad University, killing six civilians and wounding 18, including some students, police said.

Also in Baghdad, U.S. forces killed three insurgents during a gunbattle in the Shiite neighborhood Sadr City, the military said. Later in the day, a funeral procession was held there for an Iraqi who locals said was killed in the fighting.