30 October 2006


One hundred American soldiers have been killed in Iraq this month, a new bloody high-water mark for the Bu$h Administration. If there's one thing ol' Curious George is certainly good at, it's killing off American citizens, just like when he was govenor of Texas...

How many more George?

Many Casualties in Baghdad Blast
A bomb explosion in the Sadr City area of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has killed at least 30 people and injured more than 60, officials say.

The blast occurred early in the morning in Mudhafa Square, on the edge of the densely populated, predominantly Shia district.

Those killed were said to be labourers looking for work.

Meanwhile, the death of a US marine on Sunday took US losses in October to 100 - the highest total since January 2005.

The marine was killed in combat in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, the US military said.

More than 2,800 US troops have died since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. November 2004, when 137 US soldiers were killed, remains the deadliest month so far.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has said his government plans to ask the UN Security Council to extend the mandate of the US-led forces in Iraq.

In an interview with Reuters news agency, Mr Zebari said it was vital for Iraq's security that foreign troops continued to operate under the mandate for a further year. It is due to expire at the end of December.

US cordon

Iraqi authorities said Monday's blast appeared to have been caused by a device concealed in a rubbish bin by the roadside.

"The bomb was hidden in a plastic bag. It's the third time that an attack has hit this place this year," a witness, Abu Zeinad, told the AFP news agency.

There was no immediate indication who was responsible but suspicion will fall on Sunni extremists, the BBC's Hugh Sykes in Baghdad says.

There have been several attacks like this before, killing dozens of casual labourers waiting for work, our correspondent says.

Sadr City, with its population of about three million, is a stronghold of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who heads the Mehdi Army militia.

Elsewhere in Iraq:

* The trial of Saddam Hussein over the killing of more than 100,000 Kurds during "Operation Anfal" resumes, but his chief lawyer walks out after the court refuses to allow the former Iraqi leader's foreign lawyers to attend

* Iraqi authorities confirm the deaths of 17 Iraqis - 15 police instructors and two translators - in an ambush by gunmen near the southern city of Basra

* The British government says some civilian staff will be moved from its consulate in Basra because of safety concerns after increased mortar and rocket attacks

Meanwhile, US forces are continuing to operate roadblocks and patrols around Sadr City as they hunt for a kidnapped American soldier.

A raid carried out in the district on Friday triggered brief clashes with Mehdi Army militia members.

Reports suggest the abducted soldier is an Iraqi-American translator who broke US Army rules to marry a local woman.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/10/30 12:03:30 GMT



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