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March 11, 2008
Uptick in Violence in Iraq as 8 US Soldiers Killed
Two seperate suicide bombers took a heavy toll on US servicemen in Iraq, pointing up the continuing danger of al-Qaeda in some parts of the country.
One of the bombs that killed 5 soldiers was detonated at the Mansour street market in Baghdad where a patrol had dismounted apparently to mingle with the large crowd of shoppers. The other suicide bomber took out three of our boys while they were on patrol in Diyala:
In Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed five U.S. troops as they mingled casually with Iraqis in a shopping district. Another horrific attack targeted a bus in southern Iraq, killing 16:
The soldiers had parked their Humvees and stepped out into the warm sun and swirl of people on the main thoroughfare of what was once Baghdad's most elegant neighborhood. The customers strolling past the open businesses in Mansour -- the Babit gift shop, the Al Jadurchi computer compound -- created the pleasantly mundane scene that American soldiers have tried so hard to cultivate in a capital battered by war.
About 3 p.m. Monday, that vision dissolved again into violence. A man wearing a vest laden with explosives blew himself up amid the U.S. patrol, killing five soldiers and wounding three others in the deadliest day for Americans in Baghdad in six months.
The bombing, which blasted out the windows of the four-story buildings around the al-Rawad intersection of Mansour street, also injured an Iraqi interpreter and four Iraqi civilians, according to U.S. military officials. An official in the Interior Ministry said two Iraqi bystanders were also killed.
At least 22 others were wounded in the attack on the bus traveling from Najaf to Basra, a policeman said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information. Five women and three children were among those killed. Also today, a suicide truck bomb exploded at a checkpoint in Diyala killing 5 Iraqis and wounding dozens.
Gunmen also sprayed another bus with machine gunfire shortly after it hit a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad. One person was killed and four others were wounded, police said. The bomb was apparently targeting a nearby police patrol.
Once again, al-Qaeda appears to be altering its tactics, forcing us to come up with new strategies to thwart their attacks. The suicide bomber that killed the soldiers in Baghdad was on foot thus he was able to avoid the vehicle checkpoints that have done so much to lower the level of violence.
As we have in the past, we will adapt. Let's hope we can do it very soon and prevent the kind of spasm of violence we've seen the last 48 hours in Iraq.