Insurgents Hit Abu Ghraib Again

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A suicide bomber driving a tractor blew himself up Monday in the second attack in three days near the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

An attack on the prison Saturday killed one militant and wounded 44 American troops, 13 prisoners and about 50 insurgents, the U.S. military said.

In a separate attack also on Saturday, an American soldier was killed and another was injured after coming under fire in the northern city of Tal Afar, the U.S. military said Monday. The injured soldier was taken to a combat hospital for treatment.

In other developments:

  • A British soldier was accused at a court-martial Monday of killing five Iraqi women in a road accident last year by recklessly driving across a three-lane highway near Basra in violation of British traffic laws.

  • President Bush said Monday that seeing Iraq through reconstruction to a stable and secure democracy is a worthy cause that the United States will press regardless of whether its coalition partners remain there.

    "The fundamental question is: Is it worth it? And the answer is, 'Absolutely, it's worth it for a free Iraq to emerge'," said Bush, standing alongside visiting Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who is pulling his country's 1,650 troops out of the country to fulfill a campaign promise.

  • Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who led uprisings against the U.S.-led coalition last year, called on his supporters to stage a protest in Baghdad on April 9 to mark the second anniversary of U.S. troops entering the capital. Sheik Hassan al-Edhari, an official at al-Sadr's Baghdad office, said the protesters will demand that the new Iraqi government set a timetable for withdrawing foreign troops and for trying Saddam.

  • As of Saturday, at least 1,533 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

    Monday's bombing killed the attacker and injured four civilians, police said. It was not immediately clear whether the suicide bomber was targeting the prison on the western outskirts of Baghdad.

    An Iraqi police official, 1st Lt. Akram al-Zubaeyee, said the vehicle exploded near the prison's gate. U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill said a blast was heard, but he had no details on the incident.

    Abu Ghraib was at the center of a prison abuse scandal last year after photographs became public that showed U.S. soldiers humiliating Iraqi inmates sexually, including having them pile naked in a human pyramid. The United States is holding 10,500 prisoners in Iraq, nearly 3,500 of them at Abu Ghraib.

    The U.S. military said Monday about 50 insurgents were wounded in the Saturday attack on Abu Ghraib. On Sunday, the military said 44 U.S. service members and 13 prisoners were also injured.

    Seven of the injured Americans were evacuated to a combat support hospital, and 16 others who suffered minor wounds from shrapnel have returned to duty. The military did not provide details on the rest of the injured.

    The U.S. military said the attackers Saturday used a car bomb, gunfire, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

    • Joel Roberts

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