Iraqi insurgents appear to have adopted a new tactic since the start of a security crackdown in Baghdad, using children in a suicide attack on Sunday, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday.
Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations on the Joint Staff, told reporters that a vehicle was waved through a U.S. military checkpoint because two children were visible in the back seat.
"Children in the back seat lowered suspicion, (so) we let it move through, they parked the vehicle, the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back," Barbero said. "The brutality and ruthless nature of this enemy hasn't changed."
Other officials said later that three Iraqi bystanders were killed in the attack near a marketplace in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of al-Adamiyah, in addition to the two children, and seven people were injured. The officials had no other details, including the estimated ages of the children.
Barbero said this was the first reported use of children in a suicide car bombing in Baghdad.In other developments: Hundreds of chanting mourners buried Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam Hussein's former vice president, near the ousted dictator, his sons and two other executed deputies Tuesday in a spot that has become the graveyard of the ousted regime. Ramadan's body, which was covered with the Iraqi flag, was interred in a building courtyard in the Tigris River village of Ouja hours after he was hanged for his part in the killings of 148 Shiite Muslims following a 1982 assassination attempt on Hussein.
A parked car bomb exploded near a main bus station in central Baghdad, killing five civilians and wounding 18, police said.
A suicide car bomber drove his vehicle into an Iraq Army checkpoint in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood in western Baghdad, killing one soldier and wounding another, police said. A roadside bomb struck the area about five minutes later but caused no casualties.
A car bomb exploded in a tunnel in downtown Baghdad, killing three civilians and wounding seven others, said police.
Anti-war activists draped themselves in white sheets and laid down in the street to symbolize Iraq's dead, halting traffic in the heart of the city and leading to 57 arrests on the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion, police said. The "die-in" was one of several protests around the country Monday, including anti-war rallies in Seattle; Salt Lake City and Trenton, N.J.
Late Monday, U.S. and Iraqi troops also engaged in a major operation as part of a security crackdown in the volatile Hurriyah neighborhood in northern Baghdad, state television said. Witnesses said many people were reported holed up in two Shiite mosques, surrounded by U.S. forces. The state-run Iraqiya network said six civilians had been killed. The U.S. military did not comment on the reports.
Defense Department investigators vowed to crack down on wartime profiteering by U.S. companies doing business in Iraq, according to the Pentagon's special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. Stuart Bowen told the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday that any company involved in war profiteering would be fined, suspended or even barred.
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