Iraq: 3 Bombs, 43 Dead, 89 Injured

Aftermath of car bomb blasts at a main bus station, Baghdad, Iraq, 8-17-05
Authorities say two car bombs targeting policemen exploded at a bus station in central Baghdad Wednesday, and a third detonated near a hospital where the wounded were being taken, killing at least 43 and wounding 89.

In the first of the coordinated strikes, a suicide car bomber targeting policemen detonated his vehicle outside Baghdad's al-Nahda bus station, the U.S. military said. A second car loaded with explosives detonated inside the bus terminal.

A second suicide bomber detonated explosives near the al-Kindi hospital where many of the wounded from the first two attacks were arriving for treatment, police Maj. Thamir al-Gharawi said. It was unclear if the hospital was targeted in the blast.

Bodies were strewn across the bus station's parking lot. U.S. and Iraqi forces responded to the blasts, the first of which went off at about 8 a.m.

On Tuesday, Kurdish leaders insisted they have no plan to secede from Iraq even if they want the new constitution to give them the right to do so - one of the issues that forced a delay in finishing the draft charter.

Meetings resume Wednesday among Iraqi leaders seeking to finish the draft by the new deadline - midnight Aug. 22.

CBS News Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reports that Iraqi leaders say one issue under negotiation is women's rights and the degree to which much Islamic law should determine what those rights are.

Iraqi leaders expressed confidence they will overcome differences over remaining issues, including Kurdish demands for self-determination and the role of Islam, by Monday.

However, many leaders were equally sanguine about prospects for meeting the original Aug. 15 deadline. If no agreement can be reached this time, the interim constitution requires that parliament be dissolved.

President Bush is applauding what he calls the "heroic efforts" of the Iraqis as they try to negotiate a compromise.

"Their efforts," Mr. Bush said Tuesday, "are a tribute to democracy and an example that difficult problems can be solved peacefully through debate, negotiation, and compromise."

In other recent developments:

  • The U.S. military announced Tuesday that three American soldiers were killed the night before when their vehicle overturned during combat operations in south Baghdad. At least 15 Iraqis were killed Tuesday in Baghdad and central Iraq in insurgency-related violence.
  • Also Tuesday, a U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Baghdad.
  • Iraqi troops clashed with guards of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's Iraqi National Accord, leaving several guards injured. An official at Allawi's office says the incident occurred Aug. 7 between soldiers and guards near the Iraqi National Accord's main office in western Baghdad. He said one guard was seriously wounded and is still in the hospital.
  • Iraqi commandos were led to a grave Monday containing 30 bodies in the Owerij industrial district in southern Baghdad after interrogating insurgents detained in a raid earlier in the day.
  • In Khalis, gunmen killed three people in separate shootings, including a municipal council member and his driver. Four others were wounded.