BAGHDAD — In at least the seventh attack on Iraqi bridges in the past two months, a bomb damaged a bridge over a tributary to the Tigris River on Monday, cutting off the most popular route from the northeastern part of Diyala province to Baghdad.
With the al Sabtiya Bridge no longer usable, people heading to Baghdad from Diyala will have to travel through the violent city of Baqouba, residents said. Baqouba is the scene of daily clashes between al Qaida in Iraq insurgents, Shiite Muslim militias and Iraqi security forces.
Eyewitnesses said a truck loaded with explosives moved onto the span and its driver detonated his cargo, sending pieces of the bridge into the water below.
The U.S. military had no immediate information on the bombing, spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Garver said. Garver said bridge bombings didn't greatly "impede the mobility of the military." But bridges are high-profile targets whose destruction affects the lives of civilians, he said.
"If there is a definite campaign against bridges this is an insurgency trying to destabilize the government," he said.
In the past two months, car bombs have targeted at least seven bridges. The attacks began in April with the destruction of the Sarafiya bridge in Baghdad, which connected the east and west banks of the capital.
On May 11, three vehicle bombs detonated on two bridges in south Baghdad and a busy thoroughfare that leads to Taji, north of the capital.
On June 2, bombs severely damaged a bridge that links a highway from Baghdad with the northern city of Kirkuk, forcing traffic headed to Baghdad to pass through Diyala province.
The attack is the second to cripple transportation in as many days. On Sunday a U.S. checkpoint underneath an overpass south of Baghdad was hit by a car bomb that collapsed the span above, a U.S. military statement said. Three soldiers were killed and six were wounded. A translator also was wounded.
An engineer unit was being dispatched to clear the partially blocked highway, the statement said.
The Department of Transportation building in Tikrit also was attacked Sunday, according to a U.S. military statement. It was unclear how many people were killed.
(McClatchy Newspapers special correspondent Ali Abdul Sattar contributed to this report from Baqouba.)