A US military helicopter carrying two pilots crashed in a field north of Baghdad and a roadside explosion killed two civilians in a separate attack in the capital yesterday, a day after a spate of suicide attacks left nearly three dozen people dead in northern Iraq.
An AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed at about 11:45am in Mishahda, 30km north of the capital, an Associated Press reporter at the scene said. The helicopter was in flames on the ground. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The US military confirmed that a helicopter carrying two pilots crashed near Baghdad. The crash is under investigation and a recovery team was determining the status of the pilots, the military said.
The roadside bomb in Baghdad exploded near a police patrol at Antar Square in the capital's northern Azamiyah neighborhood, police said. A woman was among the two dead and another person was wounded, he said.
The attack followed three suicide bombers who struck a police headquarters, an army base and a hospital around Mosul on Sunday, killing 33 people in a setback to efforts to rebuild the northern city's police force that was riven by intimidation from insurgents seven months ago.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks in Mosul -- the country's third-largest city. The claim, which was made on an Internet site used by militants, could not be verified.
The relentless carnage has killed at least 1,338 people since April 28, when Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced his Shiite-dominated government. With the Sunni Arab-dominated insurgency targeting the Shiite majority, the wave of killings has slowly been pushing the country toward civil war.
At least 18 other people were killed in attacks elsewhere in Iraq on Sunday, including a US soldier whose convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in Baghdad and six Iraqi soldiers who were gunned down outside their base north of the capital.
Yesterday, Iraqi police detained 48 suspected insurgents in Iskandriyah, Jibbala and Haswa in northern Hillah, police said. The three-day raid, which ended early yesterday, took place in an area south of Baghdad and it was part of "Operation Lightning." Police also seized weapons and a potential car bomb.
The attacks in Mosul, 360km northwest of Baghdad, started early Sunday when a suicide bomber with explosives hidden beneath watermelons in a pickup truck slammed into a downtown police station near a market. US Army Captain Mark Walter said 10 policemen and two civilians were killed.
Less than two hours later, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the parking lot of an Iraqi army base on Mosul's outskirts, killing 16 people, Walter said. Most of the victims were civilian workers arriving at the site, he said. Of the seven injured, one lost a leg and another was paralyzed from the waist down, the military said.
A third attacker strapped with explosives walked into Mosul's Jumhouri Teaching Hospital in the afternoon and blew himself up in a room used by police guarding the facility, killing five policemen.