Published December 15, 2003
BAGHDAD, Iraq – As if to prove the capture of Saddam Hussein (search) would not end the anti-coalition insurgency in Iraq, a homicide bomber (search) driving a taxi attacked a police building in Baghdad on Monday, killing eight policemen and wounding 10 others.
Residents said at least five civilians, including a 5-year-old girl, also were wounded by flying glass and debris in the attack in Baghdad's Husainiyah district.
Earlier Monday, seven policemen were wounded when a car bomb exploded in the western Ameriyah neighborhood. That attack was partially foiled by Iraqi officers and U.S. Military Police who fired on a second explosives-packed vehicle, preventing it from ramming the police station and detonating, said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling, of the 1st Armored Division.
The driver of the second car ran away, abandoning the vehicle without detonating it, Hertling said. The driver later was captured, according to Capt. Brad Loudon.
The car's 550 pounds of plastic explosives, with a powerful limpet mine attached as a detonator, was defused, Hertling said.
In Fallujah, one of the most dangerous cities for coalition troops, angry residents protested the capture of Saddam. Hundreds later stormed and looted the mayor's office, local officials said.
Chanting "Saddam is in our hearts, Saddam is in our blood," about 700 people rallied in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit on Monday to protest his arrest.
Soldiers and police monitoring the demonstration chanted back "Saddam is in our jail," said Lt. Col. Steven Russell, who commands a battalion in the 4th Infantry Brigade, which is based there. Police broke up the demonstration.
In the al-Jihad area of Baghdad, some people fired shots in the air to celebrate rumors that Saddam was not really captured and that satellite television stations might air a tape by the deposed leader denying his arrest.
Hertling said U.S. troops found yet another explosives-packed vehicle parked in east Baghdad on Sunday. It appeared to have been abandoned, possibly because of mechanical trouble.
"Right now, we don't know what the target was," Hertling said. "It goes with the intelligence we had yesterday, that there would be several (car bombs). We dodged a couple of bullets in Baghdad."
The attacks came less than a day after U.S. officials announced the detention of Saddam and warned his capture could lead to an increase in attacks against troops of the U.S.-led coalition and their Iraqi allies.
Lt. Col. Ali Amer said the explosion in Husainiyah, on Baghdad's northern outskirts, occurred when a yellow Toyota Land Cruiser drove through the razor wire fence encircling the building, and detonated next to the gate. Several houses and shops were damaged and at least three cars were burned.
The blast left a three-foot deep crater about 30 feet from the building entrance. The facade was demolished by the blast. The force of the blast heaved the car into the air and into the station courtyard.