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Violence in Iraq continues with two suicide bombings

BAGHDAD, Iraq—Any hopes that Saddam Hussein's capture might lead to an immediate reduction in violence in Iraq were laid to rest Monday by two suicide car bombings that killed nine people and injured 25 at two police stations in Baghdad and north of Baghdad.

Supporters of the deposed dictator also took to the streets Monday in his hometown of Tikrit. Students dressed in black stopped traffic, shouted "Long Live Saddam" and waved posters of the former president. Followers of Saddam also took over a government building in Fallujah to protest his capture in an underground hideaway on a rural farm south of Tikrit on Saturday.

There were also reports that scores of Saddam sympathizers used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades to attack a third police station in Adhimiya, a Sunni Muslim neighborhood in Baghdad. Many residents there were saddened and felt humiliated by Saddam's arrest by 600 soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division.

At the Higher Crime Investigation Station in Amiriyah near Baghdad International Airport, an old Peugeot approached from the left side of the station and exploded about 8:30 a.m., wounding as many as 10 people.

Then, an old taxi Land Cruiser approached from the right and managed to get inside the police station compound. Before detonating the vehicle, however, the driver became involved in a gunfight with police.

"The suicide bomber's body is all over the place, and the other driver managed to escape, but he is injured. His blood is all over the station," said Hassan Ali, a 25-year-old police officer. The second driver was later found and arrested.

"Some people were injured from the shrapnel, including children from the school next door," said Iraqi police Sgt. Ahmed Kakah, 30. "We managed to stop the Land Cruiser, and there is 500 pounds of explosives in it, and the explosions team is working on it now."

At the Hussaniya police station, 18 miles north of Baghdad, another Land Cruiser drove through barbed wire, stopped next to the police station and exploded. Nine people were killed and about 15 injured, according to Jassem Adnan, an Iraqi police officer.

"When the Americans caught Saddam, we thought all this would be over," said Mohammed Ali, 31, a shopkeeper next door to the police station. "I wonder what it will take to stop that."


(Fan reports for the San Jose Mercury News.)


(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

PHOTOS (from KRT Photo Service, 202-383-6099): usiraq


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