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Iraqi Insurgents Step Up Attacks, Kill More than 60

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Even in a time of intensifying attacks, this is an unusually violent day in Iraq. Suicide bombers struck across the country today. Half a dozen attacks killed at least 60 people and wounded scores more. We'll start our coverage with NPR's Tom Bullock in Baghdad.

TOM BULLOCK reporting:

Iraqi police say these attacks happened in quick succession, a sign they may have been coordinated. The deadliest blast took place in northern Iraq, one in a marketplace in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit at a spot where unemployed Iraqis gather early in the morning. As a car drove up, a large crowd approached it, hoping to find a job. Instead, the car exploded, killing nearly 30 and wounding at least twice that many. One eyewitness said many of the victims were torn to pieces.

At nearly the same time near the northern city of Kirkuk, an insurgent detonated explosives hidden under his clothes as he stood in line at an Iraqi police recruiting center. At least 25 people died in that attack and more than 40 were injured, some seriously.

Then the violence shifted south to Baghdad where at least four more bombs went off--8 AM, a blast in western Baghdad; a car bomb apparently targeting a US patrol as it drove under an overpass. At least four Iraqi civilians wounded. No word yet on any American casualties.

Fifteen minutes later, another blast, this time in eastern Baghdad, wounding two Iraqis. Then at 8:45, a car bomb outside a police station in Dora, one of Baghdad's most dangerous neighborhoods--11 more Iraqi casualties.

In all, Iraq's insurgents have killed nearly 400 people since the country's new government took office some two weeks ago. Today's attacks come at a time the US military continues to fight insurgents near the Syrian border in the largest military operation since the fall of Fallujah late last year. Tom Bullock, NPR News, Baghdad. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Bullock
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