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Car bombs targeting Iraqi security forces kill 18

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — A pair of car bombings targeting Iraqi security forces killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens Monday in Baghdad, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said.

In the deadliest attack, a parked car exploded near an Iraqi army patrol in central Baghdad, killing 15 people, including one soldier, and wounding 40 others.

Earlier, a suicide car bomb hit an Iraqi National Police checkpoint in eastern Baghdad, killing three officers and wounding nine others — six police and three civilians, the Interior Ministry said.

The attacks came a day after another car bomb killed four Iraqi civilians and wounded six north of Baghdad in Salaheddin province, the U.S. military said. A child was among the dead.

The continued targeting of civilians by al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists shows their complete disregard for human life, said Lt. Col. Thomas Hauerwas with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. They are trying to intimidate the citizens … who have chosen to stand against them.

Also Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heading home from Iraq after a two-day visit, again touted the closer relations between Tehran and Baghdad and reiterated his criticism of the United States.

No one likes them, Ahmadinejad said. This is the wish of regional nations — that is the withdrawal of foreigners from this region.

Ahmadinejad’s visit was greeted warmly by Iraq’s Shiite Muslim leadership, who have had longtime links with Iran that predate Saddam Hussein’s toppling. At the same time, many Sunni Muslims in Iraq are opposed to the Iranian regime and have demonstrated against his visit.

Meanwhile, Jordanian Prince Hassan on Monday expressed outrage at last week’s kidnapping of a Chaldean Catholic archbishop in northern Iraq and the killings of three of the cleric’s guards.

It shocks us greatly to learn of these crimes against those men and women who carry the Abrahamic message of love, peace and brotherhood, said a statement from Hassan, who heads Jordan’s Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies.

A U.S. military spokesman said Sunday a great deal of effort was under way by the Iraqi police and army and American-led coalition to find Archbishop Paulus Faraj Rahho, who was abducted Friday in the northern city of Mosul.

These holy men must not be made victims of conflict, nor should they pay a price for political quarrels under any circumstances, Hassan said.

Hassan is a member of Jordan’s Hashemite royal family, which traces its roots to Islam’s Prophet Mohammed. Once in line to succeed his late brother, King Hussein, Hassan was recently awarded the 2008 Niwano Peace Prize for his work on Middle East peace and interfaith dialogue.

It’s unclear who may be behind the Christian leader’s kidnapping, but a massive coalition effort is trying to rid Mosul of al Qaeda in Iraq fighters.

Shortly after Friday’s kidnapping and killings, the Vatican released a statement saying Pope Benedict XVI was saddened by such a new deplorable act.

The pope invites the entire church to join him in his fervent prayer that reason and humanity might prevail in the kidnappers and [Monsignor] Rahho may be returned as soon as possible to the care of his flock, the statement said. He also renews his hopes that the Iraqi people may be able to find reconciliation and peace.

Christians are a tiny fraction of Iraq’s population. An estimated 1.2 million Christians lived in Iraq before the 2003 U.S. invasion, and about half have remained, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2007 Report on International Religious Freedom, citing a top Chaldean official.

Christian religious sites and religious leaders have come under frequent attacks.
Car bombs targeting Iraqi security forces kill 18 – found here.

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March 3, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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