Suicide boat bombers attack Basra offshore oil terminal: Renewed bloodshed claims 71 Iraqi, 7 US lives
BAGHDAD: Seven US soldiers and 71 Iraqis were killed on Saturday and nearly 100 people wounded in a spate of explosions and violent clashes between insurgents and troops from the US-led coalition.
US marines killed around 30 Iraqi insurgents overnight in a firefight near the flashpoint town of Fallujah, Colonel John Coleman said on Saturday.
A roadside bomb killed 14 Iraqis travelling by bus to Baghdad on Saturday and 36 others were wounded, a doctor at a nearby hospital said. Fourteen Iraqis were killed and 36 wounded in four suspected attacks on Saturday in Baghdad’s Shia Muslim slum of Sadr City, police and hospital sources said.
A US military official said the explosions might have involved “mortars or missiles fired by the Mehdi Army,” the militia of firebrand Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.
Five US solders were killed around dawn, when two 57-mm rockets slammed into the base in Taji, Air Force Lt Col Sam Hudspath said. Six soldiers were wounded in the attack.
Another two US soldiers were killed and one wounded in a rocket propelled grenade attack on a convoy near the southern city of Kut, police said.
Elsewhere, a Marine died from combat injuries suffered on April 14. Besides these deaths up to 13 Iraqis were killed on Saturday in several attacks, including an apparent suicide car bombing in Tikrit, fighting in Baghdad’s Sadr City, and clashes between Polish troops and Shia militiamen in Karbala. The dead included a two-year-old Iraqi girl in Fallujah. The fighting in Sadr City came when US forces launched raids against suspected militiamen, sparking a battle that the military said killed one or two Iraqis. During the fighting, three Iraqi girls were badly burned when a shell exploded in their bedroom where they slept.
In other violence on Saturday an Iraqi woman working as a translator for the US military was shot and killed along with her husband as they drove to a US base, a hospital official said.
Four policemen were killed and 16 more people were wounded in a car bomb attack on Saturday morning near a US military base in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, police said.
Polish troops clashed overnight with Shia militiamen in the city of Karbala, killing five, a spokesman for the multinational peacekeeping force in south-central Iraq said on Saturday.
Roadside bombs on Friday and Saturday in the restive central town of Baquba wounded three Iraqi policemen and a 4-year-old girl, said Dr Hussein Ali Hadi from main city hospital.
Basra oil terminals attacked: Suicide bombers launched two boat attacks on Iraq’s vital Basra offshore oil terminal on Saturday, Iraqi officials said, The explosion did no damage either the platform or a boat moored alongside, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said. One boat exploded alongside a ship tied up at the terminal, said British military spokesman Major Ian Clooey.
A second boat was intercepted by a US-led coalition ship as it approached an exclusion zone around the terminal, he said.
Iraqi authorities shut down the terminal after it was attacked, officials said. —Agencies