Suicide truck bomber hits Iraqi police station in series of strikes
BAGHDAD – A suicide bomber driving a truck with explosives hidden under bricks destroyed a police station Saturday in Baghdad – the largest in a series of insurgent strikes against the American-led security crackdown. At least 47 people died in the attacks, including 20 at the police station. The bomber bypassed tight security to get within 25 yards of the station by blending in with other trucks coming and going as part of a construction project, detonating his explosives after reaching the main gate. Police said half of those killed were policemen and several were inmates at the jail; 28 people were wounded. “We did not suspect the suicide truck, and he easily reached the main gate, where he detonated his truck. Suddenly there was a big explosion and part of the building collapsed,” said police Cpl. Hussam Ali, who saw the blast from a nearby guard post. “We were very cautious, but this time we were taken by surprise. The insurgents are inventing new methods to hurt us.” The thunderous explosion caused much of the two-story station to collapse and sent a plume of black smoke drifting across the Baghdad skyline. U.S. and Iraqi forces set up checkpoints at the scene and helped carry the wounded to hospitals, while military helicopters rumbled overhead. In all, at least 74 people were killed or found dead in Iraq on Saturday, making it the seventh deadliest day since U.S. and Iraqi forces launched the security operation on Feb. 14, according to an Associated Press tally. That included at least 25 bullet-riddled bodies – 11 found in Baghdad, six pulled from the Tigris River south of the capital and eight in the Anbar city of Fallujah. The U.S. military also announced the deaths of two more U.S. soldiers on Friday – one killed by a roadside bomb while on a foot patrol south of Baghdad and another who died in fighting in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Anbar province. Northwest of the capital, a man wearing an explosives belt blew himself up outside a pastry shop in a central market area in Tal Afar, killing at least 10 people and wounding three, just over a year after President Bush declared that city was an example of progress made in bringing security to Iraq. A man driving an explosives-laden truck carrying boxes of new shoes also blew himself up near a Shiite mosque in Haswa, 30 miles south of Baghdad, killing at least 11 people and wounding 45, police said. Two suicide car bombers also struck a police station in Qaim, near the Syrian border and about 200 miles west of Baghdad. At least six people – five policemen and a woman – were killed and 19 wounded in that attack. The Voices of Iraq news agency said there were three suicide car bombers that hit three police stations in the Qaim area, killing at least 20 and wounding 30. The agency said security forces were looking for a fourth car loaded with explosives and thought to be in the city. The report could not be independently verified. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!