Deadly Bomb Spree Rocks Baghdad

Iraqis drag an injured man down the street as another man, behind them, calls for help for a dead man on the ground after explosions in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, June 23, 2005.
Nearly 40 people died in a rash of car bombings in Iraq's capital over a 12-hour span, including two coordinated blasts early Thursday that killed 15 and wounded 28 in a central Baghdad shopping district, police said.

Thursday's carnage in the capital's Karradah area came on the heels of bloodshed late Wednesday that included four car bombs exploding within minutes of one another. At least 23 people were killed in western Baghdad's Shula neighborhood and a nearby suburb. Nineteen were killed in Shula alone.

The attacks served as a chilling reminder of how potent militants remain in the capital despite around-the-clock American and Iraqi troop patrols.

Most residents of Karradah and Shula are from Iraq's Shiite majority, while the insurgents are almost exclusively Sunni Arabs, a minority that dominated Iraq until Saddam Hussein's ouster two years ago.

The explosions both days were carried out at times when large crowds were on the capital's streets. Wednesday night's bombs came hours before an 11 p.m. curfew, when many residents are out at eateries or chatting on the streets before locking themselves inside their homes.

In other developments:

  • A car bomb detonated by remote control hit an Iraqi police patrol in Tuz Khormato, north of Baghdad, killing one policeman and wounding seven civilians, police Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qadr said. Tuz Khormato is 55 miles south of the northern city of Kirkuk.
  • In an incident before dawn Thursday, U.S. troops backed by Iraqi troops and helicopters killed seven insurgents who opened fire on the patrol from a home in western Baghdad's Jamiaa neighborhood, said police Maj. Moussa Abdul Karim and 1st Lt. Mohammed al-Heyaali. The home was reduced to rubble and U.S. troops standing in front displayed a weapons cache they had seized, including rocket-propelled grenade launchers, machine guns and ammunition.
  • Iraqi police detained 50 suspected insurgents in separate raids in southeastern Baghdad and north of the capital on Thursday, officials said.

    Thursday's twin explosions took place when many are just beginning their daily routines. The attacks in Karradah happened nearly simultaneously, police Lt. Col. Salman Abdul Karim and officer Ahmed Hatam al-Sharie said. Five police officers were among the 15 dead.

    A young boy, his left leg missing from below the knee, sat on the sidewalk near a mangled bicycle, screaming as a man tried to comfort him. The force of the blasts blew off store shutters, and the surrounding sidewalks were covered with debris, including shattered glass, concrete slabs and charred vegetables and fruit.