BAGHDAD (AP) – Bombs, including one hidden under a horse-drawn cart, struck targets in Baghdad and to the north and west of the capital Friday, killing at least 12 people, police said.
The deadliest blast occurred in the Anbar city of Amiriyah, 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Baghdad, when a suicide attacker targeted worshippers leaving a Sunni mosque following weekly Islamic prayer services, killing at least four people and wounding four, including the local police chief, officials said.
Anbar province is a former al-Qaeda in Iraq stronghold that has seen a recent decline in violence after Sunni tribal leaders turned against the terror network, but sporadic attacks continue.
The bomb hidden under a horse-drawn cart exploded in downtown Baghdad, killing three civilians, including a street sweeper, and wounding six people, police said. AP Television News footage showed the dead horse lying on its side surrounded by rubble. Shortly after the blast, Iraqi authorities announced a ban on carts on the streets of Baghdad. “These methods began to be used by terrorists and criminal gangs” said Husham al-Rikabi, a deputy spokesman for the Iraqi military in Baghdad.
Hours later, an explosive-laden car blew up in a parking lot in the predominantly Shiite area of Karradah in central Baghdad, killing a man and two teenage boys and wounding seven police said. Nine cars also were destroyed. A booby-trapped car being towed by police also blew up in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, killing two policemen and wounding four others, police said. Police said they were removing the car after it was found parked near a market pockmarked with bullet holes and with bloodstained seats. The explosion occurred about 8 a.m. as it was being pulled into the parking lot of the local police headquarters, officials said.
Tikrit is 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad. The police officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information. Nobody claimed responsibility for the attacks. The U.S. military has warned suspected Sunni insurgents led by al-Qaeda are seeking new ways to avoid stepped-up security measures that have dampened their ability to stage high-profile car bombings and suicide attacks.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military said Iraqi soldiers discovered 15 bodies near the town of Kazim al-Isrhail, some 30 kilometers (20 miles) northeast of Baqouba, the second mass grave unearthed Thursday in the volatile Diyala province. The victims were all male, and one was of an Iraqi soldier, who was identified by his Iraqi army ID card. The bodies are reportedly at least 10 days old, and some of them were found with gun shot wounds to the head.
Nine other bodies, six men and three women, also were found buried in a field in the Baqouba area on Thursday, the military said.
In the southern city of Basra, a rocket attack Friday afternoon against the airport, the area where British troops are stationed, forced the facility to close temporarily while debris was cleared away. British Maj. Tom Holloway said no one was killed though at least one person, an airport employee, was injured.