8 U.S. troops, 14 Iraqis die in wave of insurgent bombings

By Hannah Allam and Yasseen Taha | McClatchy Newspapers, March 10, 2008

BAGHDAD — Bombers unleashed a wave of explosions in Baghdad and north of the capital Monday, including two attacks that killed eight U.S. service members in the deadliest day for the military this year, American and Iraqi authorities said.

The other blasts targeted Iraqi security forces, militias and civilians, hitting a police station, a hotel, a busy traffic intersection and near a mosque and a hospital.

The combined death toll of at least 22 included 14 Iraqi casualties, on the heels of twin bombings that killed nearly 70 people last Thursday in a Baghdad shopping district, indicated that Sunni Muslim insurgents are reasserting their presence at a time when large-scale attacks had dipped to record lows, Iraqi officials said.

Authorities couldn’t say for certain whether any of Monday’s bombings were coordinated.

Two of the explosions occurred in militia-controlled Shiite Muslim districts, signaling that bombers still can strike in the heart of Mahdi Army territory. Another blast ripped through the front gate of a hotel in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah in the autonomous Kurdish region, which had been among the safest places in Iraq.

“The terrorists want to send a message to the Kurdistan region and to all those concerned that they can make big security breaches at any time, in any place they want,” said Suzan Shihab, a Kurdish member of parliament who represents Sulaimaniyah.

In the worst attack on U.S. forces in Baghdad in nearly a year, five American service members died after a suicide bomber approached their foot patrol and detonated an explosives vest in the once-upscale central Baghdad neighborhood of Mansour, according to the U.S. command in Baghdad.

Continued . . .

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