Islam marches on: Religion of peace Jihad emissaries kill 50 in Iraq
Five US soldiers killed by roadside bomb - Shiite mother and 7 children shot in their beds - suicide bombings
Wave of Attacks Kills Nearly 50 in Iraq
AP Photo BAG101
By FRANK GRIFFITHS
Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A man strapped with explosives blew himself up Sunday at a military recruiting center, one of series of suicide attacks that killed at least 48 people. Five U.S. troops were wounded in a bombing as the prime minister complained Americans were too quick to fire on civilians deemed suspicious.
The U.S. military, meanwhile, released Iranian-American Cyrus Kar, a 44-year-old aspiring filmmaker from Los Angeles who has been detained in Iraq for nearly two months, officials said. Kar was taken into custody May 17 near Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad, when potential bomb parts were found in a taxi in which he was riding.
Sunday's deadliest attack hit the army recruiting center at Muthana airfield in central Baghdad when a man dressed in civilian clothes detonated two explosive-laden belts among a crowd of recruits, killing 25 others and wounding nearly 50, U.S. and hospital officials said. Most of the dead were believed to have been recruits.
Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility in a Web posting but the authenticity could not be verified. In February, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the same garrison, killing 21 people.
Elsewhere, a Shiite mother and seven of her children were found shot dead in their beds Sunday in Baghdad. One boy survived, police said. The distraught father, who was not at home at the time, blamed the killings on sectarian hatred.
Two suicide car bombers also killed at least seven Iraqi customs officials at the Walid border crossing into Syria, the U.S. military said. Syrian authorities closed the crossing point, turning back about 300 Iraqis trying to return home, a Syrian source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of relations between the two neighboring countries.
A suicide car bomber also rammed into a police convoy carrying an Iraqi brigadier general near the northern city of Mosul, killing five policemen and wounding three, the U.S. military and police said. The senior officer was not injured.
A suicide car bomb in Kirkuk killed at least four civilians and wounding 15, according to police. A second car bomb was rigged to explode as rescuers rushed to the scene, but it was found and detonated by American troops, police reported.
Two other suicide car bombers struck near Fallujah, killing an Iraqi civilian and wounding a Marine, the U.S. Marines said.
Five American soldiers were injured by a roadside bomb in southeastern Baghdad, the U.S. command said. They were in stable condition at a military hospital.
Separately, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari criticized U.S. and multinational forces for shooting at Iraqi civilians who act suspiciously near patrols or military areas, saying such cases should be handled in a "civilized" way, such as shooting at tires instead of passengers.
Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, a spokesman for the U.S. command, said American forces investigate all fatal shootings and blamed the problem on the growing use of suicide car bombs as an insurgent weapon.
"Terrorists, through use of suicide (vehicles), have caused this predicament," Boylan said. "They have affected the normal level of trust that people have for one another and have made it difficult to distinguish between normal traffic and a grave potential threat."
The eight members of the Shiite family were found shot to death in eastern Baghdad, police Col. Amhed al-Alawi. Six of the dead were between 2 and 14 years old, he said.
"This is because we are Shiites. I have no enemies," the distraught father, Hussein al-Tarash, told reporters. "We have no political leanings."
Tensions between minority Sunnis and majority Shiites have risen. Most insurgents are believed to be Sunnis, and Shiites dominate the new Iraqi government.
The body of the kidnapped Iraqi karate association chief was found floating in the Tigris River near Kut, about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, police and sports official said. Ali Shakir, 38, was abducted Thursday in Latifiyah, about 20 miles south of Baghdad.
Shakir was a former Iraq champion in karate and judo. He also was head of the Babil branch of Iraq's soccer association. "We've lost a champion," said Ahmed al-Hijiya, president of Iraq's Olympic committee.
Also Sunday, al-Jaafari sought to ease tensions with Egypt in the wake of the reported kidnap-slaying of Cairo's top diplomat here, Ihab al-Sherif. The envoy was abducted July 2 and al-Qaida claimed in a Web posting to have killed him, although it provided no photos and the body has not been found.
Egyptian officials were enraged after Iraqi authorities criticized al-Sherif for traveling without security and suggested he may have been in contact with insurgents. On Saturday, Egypt had demanded an explanation from Iraq.
"I don't have any information that the late Ihab al-Sherif has conducted a dialogue or was involved in any dialogue or any meeting," al-Jaafari told reporters. "If what's being reported about an official comment is related to me, then I'm categorically denying that."
The U.S. military defended its detention of Kar, who was born in Iran but immigrated to the United States as a child.
Kar's Iranian cameraman also was released from U.S. custody Sunday, but the military said it would continue to hold the taxi driver pending the results of an investigation.
"This case highlights the effectiveness of our detainee review process," spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Don Alston was quoted as saying in the statement. "We followed well-established procedures and Mr. Kar has now been properly released."