YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The World

Suicide Blast Kills 4 in Mosul

A bomber targets police station, injuring 35. In Baghdad, two die in a roadside explosion.

August 01, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber targeted a police station in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul early today as the shift was changing, killing four people and injuring 35, almost all of them civilians.

As the bomber sped toward the station in a sport-utility vehicle, four policemen shot at him, police said. The vehicle exploded about 50 feet from the building.

"He succeeded in penetrating the concrete barriers" set up to safeguard the station, said Mosul's police chief, Mohammed Kairi Barhawi.

Yunis Hadidi was at a nearby taxi stand when the bomb went off. "I was standing waiting for passengers when we heard a huge explosion," he said. "We rushed over to the scene and saw many injured people."

The bomb damaged the police station and destroyed several nearby vehicles, including four police cars.

In Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed a man and a woman and wounded two other people. Police said all were civilians.

The explosions came a day after Iraqi militants said they had kidnapped two Turks and threatened to behead them within 48 hours.

In a videotape broadcast on Al Jazeera satellite television, militants led by Jordanian-born extremist Abu Musab Zarqawi demanded that the Turks' employers leave Iraq. The tape showed three masked, black-garbed gunmen standing behind two seated men holding various forms of identification, including what appeared to be Turkish passports.

Al Jazeera identified the men as Turkish truck drivers working for a Turkish company delivering goods to U.S. troops in Iraq. The tape did not indicate when the 48-hour period would end.

An official at the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he saw the broadcast but had no further details.

In another abduction, a Lebanese national was snatched in Baghdad early Saturday, a Lebanese Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity. The official had no further details.

The victim's Iraqi driver, who also was abducted but later released, identified the Lebanese man as Vlado abu Ghadi, director of the Lara construction firm.

More than 70 foreigners have been kidnapped by insurgents in recent months in a campaign aimed at forcing international troops, and the companies backing them, to leave Iraq.

Mediators and officials expressed optimism Saturday for the release of seven hostages -- three Indians, three Kenyans and an Egyptian -- held since July 21.

An official of the drivers' Kuwaiti employer met with tribal leaders acting as mediators to craft an offer to the captors, and India sent its ambassador to Oman, Talmiz Ahmed, to Iraq to help in the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Turkish driver Mehmet Dayar, abducted July 17, was freed in Mosul after promising his captors that he wouldn't stay in the country, his niece Jihan Dayar said.

In other violence, gunmen killed Ismail Kilabi, head of the state-run Mahmoudiya Teachers Institute, after a mosque prayer service Friday, police Lt. Alaa Hussein said Saturday.

In Fallouja, west of Baghdad, explosions were heard late Saturday as fighting between U.S. forces and Iraqi insurgents resumed.

Los Angeles Times Articles