Flurry Of Iraq Attacks Kill 19

US soldiers from Easy company 2/7 infantries division take position during a foot patrol in the city of Tikrit, the place birth of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, 19 October 2005.
Getty Images/Tauseef Mustafa
Sunni-led insurgents killed 19 people in Iraq on Wednesday, the opening day of Saddam Hussein's trial, including six Shiites who were lined up at a factory and gunned down in front of their fellow workers, police said.

The day's fatalities also included three election commission officials who were shot and killed on the outskirts of the capital in Abu Ghraib, as they drove home after another round of counting ballots from last weekend's constitutional referendum, police said.

A bomb also went off at a famous monument in a Baghdad square honoring the 8th-century founder of Baghdad to whom Saddam often compared himself. The blast, which toppled the bust of Abu Jaafar Al-Mansour but caused no injuries, appeared to be a jab at the former dictator.

In other developments:

  • A roadside bomb hit a U.S. Army patrol late Tuesday night, killing one soldier and wounding two near Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of Baghdad, the military said. The attack raised to at least 1,981 the number of members of the U.S. military who have died since the war began, according to an Associated Press count.
  • A Spanish judge issued an arrest warrant for three U.S. soldiers over the death of a Spanish journalist in Iraq. The Third Infantry soldiers were part of a tank crew that fired a shell at the Hotel Palestine in April 2003. An employee of the Spanish television network Telecinco was killed, as was a Ukrainian cameraman for the Reuters news agency. The Spanish judge the United States has not been cooperative in the matter.
  • A British soldier also was killed by a roadside bomb late Tuesday night in the southern region of Basra, where most British forces are based, the Ministry of Defense said in London.
  • The Guardian newspaper said Wednesday one of its reporters has disappeared in Iraq and it believes he was kidnapped. Rory Carroll, 33, an Irish citizen who is the Guardian's Baghdad correspondent, was on assignment when he vanished, the paper said in a statement. "It is believed Mr. Carroll may have been taken by a group of armed men," the statement said. "The Guardian is urgently seeking information about Mr. Carroll's whereabouts and condition."
  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is making her first appearance before Congress in eight months and trying to reassure jittery Congress members who want specifics about the United States' path to success in Iraq. Republicans and Democrats alike are raising questions about the Bush administration's diplomatic and military plans in Iraq amid a rising U.S. death toll, soaring costs and slumping public support for the war.

    Iraqis are still awaiting the outcome of last weekend's referendum, as the slower-than-expected vote counting continued. Questions about the integrity of the vote and delays in getting marked ballots to the capital mean final results from the landmark vote won't be announced until Friday at the earliest, officials said.

    The returns have raised questions over the possibility of irregularities in the balloting — and have prompted an audit into an irregularly high number of "yes" votes.

    An argumentative Saddam and seven senior members of his regime went on trial Wednesday for a 1982 massacre of about 150 Shiites in the town of Dujail, north of Baghdad. He immediately challenged the legitimacy of the court and pleaded innocent to all charges.

    The judge later adjourned the session until Nov. 28.