Wednesday, August 23, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq —A homicide bomber blew himself up outside a police headquarters in northern Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least one person, while British officials said a barrage of mortars hit one of their bases in the south.
The homicide bomber in the northern city of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, detonated his explosives belt at a checkpoint when he tried to enter the police building, said Maj. Gen. Wathiq al-Hamdani, the city police chief.
One woman was killed and 10 people were injured in the blast, he said.
Mosul, a predominantly Arab Sunni city, is 225 miles northwest of the capital Baghdad, and has been the scene of frequent attacks on Iraqi government facilities by Sunni insurgents.
To the south, in Amarah, 180 miles southeast of Baghdad, a barrage of 17 mortar rounds were fired at the British base of Camp Abu Naji Tuesday, said Maj. Charlie Burbridge, spokesman for the British forces. One British soldier was wounded, and was in hospital in stable condition, he said.
One more mortar round landed at the camp on Wednesday morning, but did not cause any injuries or damage.
Iraqi police had earlier reported that Katyusha rockets had been fired at the base, but later said it was a mistaken assumption because they found four rocket launchers near the base.
Burbridge said the camp, which has come under frequent attack over the past three years, was being closed down "imminently, in the next couple of days," as Iraqi forces were in a position to take over security in the area.
British forces would be repositioned to the east of Amarah and would focus on tackling smuggling, particularly of weapons, from across the border with Iran, he said.
Amarah, 180 miles southeast of Baghdad, is a predominantly Shiite city where anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia wields considerable influence. British troops have come under frequent attacks there.
"If two days go by without some kind of attack in the direction of the camp, we'd be surprised," Burbridge said.
Also Wednesday, an Iraqi army officer, 1st Lt. Hassanein Saadi al-Zerjawi, 29, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Amarah while a policeman was shot dead in a similar incident Tuesday night in Al-Hay, north of Amarah, police said.
A roadside bomb missed a U.S. military convoy in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing two pedestrians and injuring 12, said police Lt. Ahmed Salim in the town.
The shooting and the missile attacks are part of the political and sectarian violence sweeping Iraq, which last month claimed 3,500 lives, making July the deadliest month since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
Since then, Sunni Arab insurgents have been regularly attacking U.S. and Iraqi troops, mostly in the Baghdad area and in the Anbar province to its west. Since February, Iraq has also been wracked by fighting between Sunni and Shiite extremists, raising fear that the country is heading toward an all-out civil war.