Female Suicide Bomber Kills 16 In Iraq
Tuesday, April 10th 2007, 7:30 am
By: News On 6
BAGHDAD (AP) _ A female suicide bomber wearing a black abaya detonated her explosives belt in a crowd of about 200 police recruits northeast of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 16 people, police and hospital officials said.
The woman walked into the crowd at the main gate of the Muqdadiyah police station, according to a police officer at the scene who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
At least 16 people were killed and 33 wounded, according to Dr. Abdul Salam al-Jibour at Muqdadiyah General Hospital. Muqdadiyah, a mostly Sunni Muslim city, lies about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, U.S. and Iraqi army forces were engaged in fierce fighting with gunmen in two Sunni-dominated neighborhoods of the capital, Fadhil and Sheik Omar, police and witnesses said.
An American helicopter involved in the battle came under ground fire but was not shot down, a senior U.S. military official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because U.S. officials were still investigating the incident.
Police said one person was killed and 14 wounded in the crossfire. Repeated artillery fire rang out across Baghdad at midday Tuesday, but the target was unclear.
Also Tuesday, the U.S. military announced the deaths of four U.S. soldiers _ three killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad and another killed in combat in western Anbar province.
The three were killed Monday by a roadside bomb and a secondary explosion while on patrol in a southeastern section of the Iraqi capital, the U.S. military said in a statement.
The unit had been conducting raids against militants in the area, and had recently captured five suspects, it said.
Another U.S. soldier was killed the same day while conducting combat operations in Iraq's western Anbar province, another statement said.
At least 3,285 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, on a four-day trip to Japan, said Tuesday that there was no need to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from his country.
``We see no need for a withdrawal timetable. We are working as fast as we can,'' al-Maliki told reporters. ``To demand the departure of the troops is a democratic right and a right we respect. What governs the departure at the end of the day is how confident we are in the handover process.''
What counts, he added, are ``achievements on the ground.''
His comments came a day after tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of two Shiite holy cities, demanding that U.S. forces leave their country. The massive rally, called for by rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, marked the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.
Al-Sadr, who remains in seclusion and did not attend, ordered up the march as a show of strength not only to Washington but to Iraq's establishment Shiite ayatollahs as well.
He issued a statement Sunday calling on his Mahdi Army militia to redouble efforts to expel American forces and for the police and army to join the struggle against ``your archenemy.''
Also Tuesday, the U.S. military said it captured more than 150 suspected insurgents in a nearly two-week operation north of Baghdad. Rocket-propelled grenades and launchers, automatic machine guns, sniper rifles and anti-tank mines were also seized, it said.