Must be some more of that good news we keep hearing about. Guess those vacations in the paradise of Iraq will have to wait. Never fear, Halliburton employees can always rape a few women in the interim.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/12/12/ap/world/main3609529.shtmlTriple Car Bombs In Iraq's South Kill 41
Triple Car Bombings Strike Southern Iraqi City, Killing At Least 41, Wounding 150
BAGHDAD, Dec. 12, 2007
(AP) Three car bombs exploded in quick succession in the market district of a southern Iraqi city Wednesday, killing at least 41 people and wounding 150 in a Shiite region that has largely escaped the country's sectarian bloodshed, authorities said.
The police chief in Amarah was fired, an immediate driving ban went into effect, and Iraqi soldiers were deployed on the streets. Hospitals were quickly overwhelmed with the casualties, which mounted as bodies were pulled from the rubble, according to a provincial spokesman.
In a Christian neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, a parked car bomb apparently targeting a passing police patrol killed five civilians, police said. Thirteen people were wounded in the late afternoon explosion in Ghadeer, police said.
Violence has declined dramatically in the capital and elsewhere in Iraq in recent months, and insurgents driven out of Baghdad by the crackdown there have sought to gain a foothold in outlying regions.
The oil-rich Shiite area around Amarah has had almost no al-Qaida presence in the past, but has been beset by violent power struggles between rival militias.
The explosions in Amarah were about five minutes apart, beginning with a small blast at the entrance to the market, said Mohammed Saleh, the provincial council spokesman, elaborating on earlier accounts by police and an intelligence official.
Saleh said bystanders gathered to look at the aftermath of that blast, which wounded just a few people, when a second car bomb exploded. The third car blew up nearby as the crowd began to flee, he said.
Most Baghdad markets, which have been hit by a succession of deadly bombings in recent years, are surrounded by blast walls and shoppers are searched upon entering. In the capital and elsewhere, no cars are allowed to park nearby.
But Saleh said there were no security measures in the market Wednesday.
"There was not a single police car in the street at the time of the explosion," he said. "The provincial council complained many times to the police chief about the lack of security measures in the city, but he would not listen."
The explosions could be felt a half-mile away, said Salam Hussein Jabr, who runs a travel agency. He said his office windows shook and two pictures fell off the walls, and he ran outside to see what had happened.
"This is the first time we've gone through anything like this," said Jabr, a 44-year-old father of three.
Initially, people thought it was a mortar attack, he said. Then the second car exploded.
"Police prevented us from getting near. I saw about 100 people on the ground and police, soldiers and civilians were evacuating them," he told The Associated Press by telephone.
Black smoke billowed over the skyline and flames shot out of cars. Rescue crews worked to evacuate the victims. Sandals apparently lost in the rush lay near pools of blood.
Mohammed Sabri, an elementary school principal, called for more security in the city.
"Amarah is a quiet and stable city, but it seems that terrorists have arrived here," he told AP Television News.
Saleh said 41 people were killed and 150 wounded in the three explosions. He said local hospitals were overwhelmed with casualties and were turning away people who were not critically hurt.
He earlier said police imposed an indefinite driving ban, and Iraqi soldiers were sent into the streets.
In Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said 27 people were killed and 151 wounded in the twin explosions. He said the police chief was fired.
Saleh said police detained 25 suspects, including some who were using cell phones and cameras nearby, and were questioning witnesses.
"We are focusing on evacuating casualties to the hospital," he said.
No one claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack, which was similar in style to those carried out by al-Qaida, a Snni group. U.S. officials have warned recently that al-Qaida might attempt a major attack to try to provoke new sectarian bloodshed.
Amarah, a Shiite militia stronghold about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, has seen violence among rival groups vying for control in Iraq's oil-rich Shiite southern heartland, which has no significant Sunni population.
Al-Qaida is not known to have a significant presence in the region, although the terror group is often blamed for spectacular car bombings elsewhere in Iraq.