Five U.S. Soldiers Killed In Iraq

An Iraqi policeman stands in front of the wreckage of a car bomb which exploded in central Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 19. AP

Five U.S. soldiers were killed Saturday and five others were wounded in a pair of roadside bombings in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

The soldiers were assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division and were on patrol near Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad, the statement said.

Three of the wounded were transported to a U.S. military hospital, and the two others were treated and returned to duty, the statement added.
Names of the victims were withheld pending notification of kin.

In other violence, a suicide attacker killed at least 36 people and wounded 20 more in a Shiite funeral procession Saturday north of Baghdad, while a car bomb near a market just outside the capital killed 13 and wounded 21, police said.

CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier reports that the pattern of tit-for-tat bombings – – is getting worse.

The funeral was attacked at sunset while dozens of people were offering condolences to Raad Majid, the head of the municipal council in Abu Saida, for the death of his uncle, police officials said. Abu Saida is near Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

The suicide attacker drove his car into the gathering and detonated the bomb, the command center said. Ambulances and police rushed from Baqouba, as well as other nearby towns, to help in the rescue operations.

The market explosion occurred earlier near the Diyala Bridge area just southeast of Baghdad as dozens of people shopped, police Col. Nouri Ashour said. The dead included five women.

Saturday's bombings come a day after two suicide bombers wandered into the Sheik Murad mosque and the Grand Mosque in the border town of Khanaqin during noon prayers and detonated explosives strapped to their bodies, police and survivors said.

Reported death tolls ranged from 76, provided by Kurdish officials, to at least 100, provided by police. Hospital officials said Friday that 74 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the largely Kurdish town, about 90 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Such suicide attacks frequently are attributed to al Qaeda in Iraq, a fundamentalist Sunni Islamic group. The group's leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has advocated attacks in the past against Shiites, whom he considers apostates.

It was the deadliest attack since Sept. 29, when three suicide car bombers struck in the mostly Shiite town of Balad just north of Baghdad, killing at least 99 people.

A security officer in Khanaqin, who asked not to be identified because of the nature of his job, said four people were arrested following the blasts, three were strangers from outside the town and the fourth was a third suicide bomber detained near the scene.

Khanaqin police had received information from authorities in nearby Baqouba about a possible suicide bomber in the town, but it came just minutes before the attacks, he added.

The blast ripped down part of the roof of the Grand Mosque and heavily damaged the other. At sunset, dozens of people were still searching the rubble for missing family members and friends. Others collected shredded copies of the Muslim holy book, the Quran.

One survivor, Omar Saleh, said he was on his knees bowing in prayer when the bomb exploded at the Grand Mosque.

"The roof fell on us and the place was filled with dead bodies," Saleh, 73, said from his hospital bed.

American soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division sent medical specialists and supplies to the town, located about six miles from the Iranian border.

The suicide attack came just hours after two car bombs exploded outside the Hamra hotel Friday in the second strike against a compound housing Western journalists in the Iraqi capital in less than a month.

The hotel bombings started at 8:12 a.m. when a white van exploded along the concrete blast wall protecting the compound, blowing a hole in the barrier. Less than a minute later, a water tanker packed with explosives plowed through the breach in an apparent bid to reach the hotel buildings.

But the driver, apparently blocked by smoke and debris, detonated his vehicle just inside the barrier, destroying several nearby homes and blowing out hotel windows. Eight Iraqis were killed and at least 43 people were injured, officials said.
  • Joel Roberts

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