Thu, Feb 01, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Suicide attack wounds Iraqi soldiers

'NOT WORKING' Admiral William Fallon, who may take over control of US troops in Iraq, said that Washington's measures to stop spiraling violence were not adequate

AGENCIES , BAGHDAD

A suicide bomber driving an oil truck blew himself up after he was stopped at a checkpoint near an Iraqi army headquarters north of Baghdad yesterday, wounding nine soldiers, a spokesman said.

The attacker apparently planned to drive the truck into the compound in Muqdadiyah, but guards stopped him at the checkpoint about 100m away at about 9:15am.

He detonated his explosives belt as he got out of the vehicle, causing it to explode as well, army Colonel Ibrahim Hussein said, adding that nine soldiers were wounded.

A parked car bomb also struck a police patrol in the northern city of Mosul at about 10:30am, killing one policeman and wounding two others, Brigadier Abdul Karim al-Jibouri said.

A car bomb also struck a predominantly Shiite area in eastern Baghdad, killing one person and wounding six, police said.

The explosion occurred at 10am after the driver parked the car near a currency exchange office in Amin District in New Baghdad, then walked away.

"A seemingly normal person parked this car and told us that he would not be long," the owner of the currency exchange said. "When that person disappeared for more than 20 minutes, we tried to call the police but the car exploded as we were trying to do so."

Police found the dead body of one person thrown into a nearby alley by the force of the blast, while six others were wounded. The blast also damaged several nearby shops.

Elsewhere, six tortured bodies were found blindfolded and with their hands and legs bound in Fallujah, 65km west of Baghdad, hospital officials said.

Meanwhile, the man tapped to take over command of US forces in the Middle East said US citizens may have to lower their expectations for Iraq.

"What we've been doing is not working," Admiral William Fallon -- nominated by President George W. Bush to become the top US military commander for the Middle East -- told the US Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

The US military said two soldiers and a marine were killed on Tuesday in Anbar Province.

As head of US Central Command, Fallon would have overall responsibility for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He would oversee Bush's plan to stabilize Iraq, announced this month, which involves the deployment of 21,500 extra US troops.

"I believe the situation in Iraq can be turned around, but time is short," Fallon told the committee, meeting to consider his nomination.

He sounded a note of caution when asked about the prospects of a democratic Iraq emerging from current levels of violence.

"I think that we would probably be wise to temper our expectations here," he said.

"The likelihood that Iraq is suddenly going to turn into something that looks close to what we enjoy here in this country is going to be a long time coming," he said.

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