14 more killed in suicide car bombings in Iraq

Up to 40 people were killed and nearly 30 injured as a result of a suicide bombings in near the Sadeer Hotel in central Baghdad.

As the AP reports, the first blast occurred shortly after sunrise at a security checkpoint near the Sadeer Hotel in central Baghdad. The Iraqi Defense Ministry said 12 people, not including the bomber, were killed and 18 were injured, including security guards and civilians.

About three hours later, a second suicide bomber targeted a former Saddam Hussein palace being used by the Ministry of Interior police command. Two commandoes were killed and 10 people were injured, police said.

Maj. Gen. Adnan Thabit told Al-Jazeera television that commandoes opened fire on the vehicle detonating it about 50 meters (yards) from the palace.

As PakTribune informs, the truck laden with 220 kg of explosives killed up to 40 people, the US military said, citing Iraqi police reports. But Iraqi police and interior ministry sources told Reuters 22 people had been killed and 25 wounded.

PakTribune says television pictures showed a deep crater in the road as ambulances and fire-fighters attended the scene. The wreckage of the vehicle smoldered more than an hour after the blast. The attack was the deadliest since a suicide bomber blew himself up next to a fuel truck on July 16, causing a huge conflagration that killed 98 people in a town south of Baghdad.

"This is a very cowardly act carried out by criminals, not Mujahideen," said a police major who gave his name as Kasim, reports PakTribune.

"The car bomber made a deliberate decision to attack the Iraqi police station," said Major Russell Goemaere, spokesman for the US 2nd Brigade Combat Team. "The terrorists undoubtedly see the improved Iraqi police services as a threat to their operations."

Despite that interpretation, a senior US military official in Washington offered a more cautious view of the ability of Iraqi forces in a report released last week. "Only a small number of Iraqi security forces are taking on the insurgents and terrorists by themselves," said an assessment provided to the US Senate by Marine Corps General Peter Pace, vice chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The bombing, the fourth major blast in two weeks, came as the National Assembly continued to struggle with the fallout of last week's assassination of the Sunni member of the constitution-drafting committee.

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