Source Pravda.Ru

Iraq's bloodiest days for weeks

In a series of calculated attacks that reflect the growing power of the Iraqi insurgency, at least 25 Iraqis were killed by suicide car bombings and a barrage of missile and mortar fire in several neighborhoods across Baghdad today. In all, more than 60 people were killed in fighting across Iraq, the Health Ministry said. The brazen attacks were the most widespread in months, heightening the sense of uncertainty and chaos in the heart of the capital at a time when American forces have already ceded control to insurgents in a number of cities outside of Baghdad. Four suicide car bombings struck targets in Baghdad and Abu Ghraib, with two of them detonating nearly simultaneously and one hitting just outside the gates of the Abu Ghraib prison. In Baghdad, American military helicopters fired at Iraqis who were scaling a burning American armored vehicle, killing a television journalist and wounding two others. American military commanders said the helicopters simply returned fire when attacked. American forces appear to be facing a guerrilla insurgency that is more sophisticated and more widespread than ever before. Last month, attacks on American forces hit their highest level since the war began, an average 87 per day, reports the NYTimes. According to the NEWS, twelve others were killed and 61 wounded by rockets from two US helicopters on Haifa Street in central Baghdad. They had fired into a crowd milling around a burning Bradley fighting vehicle that had been hit by a rocket or bomb hours before. It comes on one of Iraq's bloodiest days for weeks in which at least 110 people died in clashes around the country. The Health Ministry said the worst casualties were in Baghdad and in Tal Afar near the Syrian border, where 51 people died. "The helicopter fired on the Bradley to destroy it after it had been hit earlier and it was on fire," said Major Phil Smith of the 1st Cavalry Division. "It was for the safety of the people around it." Mr Tumeizi, a Palestinian, was the sixth Arab journalist to be killed by American troops since Baghdad was captured last year. The videotape of his last moments shows how Mr Tumeizi was killed during a live television broadcast, with the Bradley blazing in the distance and a crowd of young men celebrating its destruction, but it shows no reason why the helicopters should open fire. A U.S. helicopter gunship fired at Iraqis milling around a burning U.S. vehicle in a Baghdad street on Sunday, one of Iraq's bloodiest days for weeks in which at least 110 people died in clashes around the country. The Health Ministry said the worst casualties were in Baghdad, where 37 were killed, and in Tal Afar near the Syrian border where 51 people died. U.S. troops mounted a major offensive on Thursday in Tal Afar, a suspected haven for foreign fighters about 60 miles from Syria, but the military gave no immediate explanation for the steep rise in the death toll on Sunday. In Baghdad, witnesses and officials said 13 people died and 61 were wounded during fierce battles in the area where the gunship fired. The city also suffered at least seven car bombs and various outbreaks of violence, and insurgents fired a dozen mortar bombs or rockets around the U.S.-occupied Green Zone compound. It was one of the heaviest barrages in the capital in months. "We've seen a tremendous increase in the number of attacks," Brigadier General Erv Lessel, a U.S. military spokesman, told Reuters.

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