What a coincident in timing? One can call it a welcome to Ramadan, and I can say Iran obviously is NOT happy disclosing their chemical reactor plans ...
Their signature is all over it.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling said that "foreign fighters" appear to be behind the wave of bombings. He said that they were all suicide attacks and that the coordination appeared "amateurish." All the bombings took place between 8:30 and 10:15 a.m.
President Bush blamed the attacks on "a handful of people who don't want to live in freedom."
"There are terrorists in Iraq who are willing to kill anybody in order to stop our progress," Bush said during a brief photo opportunity after meeting at the White House with L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, and Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East.
"The more success we have on the ground, the more these killers will react -- and our job is to find them and bring them to justice."
At least 12 people -- including at least nine Iraqis and a suicide bomber -- were killed and more than 20 wounded in an attack on the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in central Baghdad, according to officials.
Monday was the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"It looks like a coordinated terror campaign to coincide with the first day of the holy month of Ramadan to create a sense of panic and a sense of a complete lack of security," said Samir Sumaidy of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.
"It's a criminal series of actions which we believe is aimed at also getting the international community to remove its presence here and stop supporting the transition that's taking place."
Baghdad Police Chief Maj. Bassem Alani said that at least 16 people died and 94 were wounded in attacks on three Iraqi police stations. An attempt on a fourth police station was thwarted. In that attempt, Iraqi police said they wounded a Syrian national and took him into custody.
These attacks came a day after four U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq -- including one in a rocket strike on Baghdad's Al Rashid Hotel.
Two American soldiers died in one of Monday's bombings, but coalition officials could not say which one. In addition, they said, another Iraqi policeman was killed and five were wounded.
Coalition officials said an unknown number of American troops were injured in at least one station bombing.
Hertling praised the work of Iraqi policemen, saying they prevented many more deaths and injuries. One of the bombers, he said, arrived at a police station in an Iraqi police car and wearing an Iraqi police uniform "so they let him in, or there would have been even less."
Hertling said Iraqi police stopped an explosives-laden vehicle from entering the Red Cross compound. The driver detonated his explosives when police stopped him, Hertling said.
Red Cross spokeswoman Nada Doumani said the bombing was a shock.
"Maybe it was an illusion to think people would understand after 23 years that we are unbiased," Doumani said. "I can't understand why we've been targeted."
The Red Cross has been providing humanitarian assistance in Iraq since 1980.
Red Cross officials vowed to continue their work in Iraq despite the attack. (Full story)
Since the Iraq war began in March, 353 U.S. troops have been killed, including 229 in hostile fire. Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1, and 213 U.S. troops have died since then, including 113 in hostile fire.
There is no reliable source for Iraqi civilian or combatant casualty figures, either during the period of major combat or after May 1. The Associated Press reported an estimated 3,240 civilian Iraqi deaths between March 20 and April 20, but the AP reported that the figure was based on records of only half of Iraq's hospitals and the actual number was thought to be significantly higher.