Iraq's insurgency appeared unfazed by two U.S.-led military offensives, mounting separate attacks that killed at least 37 people — mostly security forces — and wounded scores of others Monday.A band of insurgents launched a bold assault on a Baghdad police station Monday, killing at least eight policemen and an 8-month-old baby, police said. At least 23 were wounded. The attack on the Baya police station in southwestern Baghdad began just before dawn and included two car suicide bombs, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire, police Capt. Talib Thamir said.
The largest one occurred in the northern Kurdish city of Irbil. A suicide car bomber dressed as a policeman slammed into a large group of traffic police officers gathered for morning roll call, killing 15 and wounding more than 100 others, police and hospital officials said.
The U.S.-led Operations Spear and Dagger, which began over the weekend and are aimed at destroying militant networks near the Syrian border and north of Baghdad, appeared to be winding down. U.S. and Iraqi forces have killed about 60 insurgents and 100 captured so far, while one Marine has been killed and three others wounded.
In other developments:
A roadside bomb Monday killed a U.S. soldier on patrol near Tal Afar, 95 miles east of the Syrian border, the military said. The soldier belonged to the 1st Corps Support Command and was not part of the two major U.S.-Iraqi offensives taking part in the western Anbar province.
Iraqi insurgents claimed in a Web posting Monday that they killed a foreign contractor working for a U.S. company along with six Iraqis in an ambush west of Baghdad. The militant group Ansar al-Sunnah Army said its fighters attacked a convoy leaving a base near the town of Ramadi, killing the men and capturing two other Iraqis. The claim could not immediately be confirmed.
Douglas Wood, 64, the Australian engineer held hostage in Iraq for nearly seven weeks arrived in his home country Monday and apologized for his televised plea for coalition forces to withdraw from Iraq. Wood, who lives in Alamo, Calif., told reporters at Melbourne's airport he supported the coalition forces' role in Iraq. "Frankly I'd like to apologize to both President Bush and Prime Minister (John) Howard for the things I said under duress," Wood said.
Syria's security at its border with Iraq remains basic, relying on border guards who lack night vision equipment needed to stop insurgents crossing to join the fight against U.S. forces in Iraq, a British defense official said Monday. Syrian authorities gave journalists a rare tour of border areas to tout improvements in security measures as U.S. forces on the other side battles against insurgents believed to have entered from Syria.
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