Suicide Bomb Injures 58 U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

Wednesday
09:02:00 AM
December
10 2003

Suicide Bomb Injures 58 U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

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By Seb Walker

TAL AFAR, Iraq (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber wounded 58 U.S. soldiers and three Iraqis Tuesday when he charged the gates of an American military base and blew up his explosives-packed vehicle as troops opened fire.

In Baghdad, a blast hit a Sunni mosque after morning prayers, killing three Iraqis and raising the specter of further sectarian tension adding to instability in Iraq.

Near the flashpoint town of Falluja west of the capital, a U.S. Kiowa helicopter made an emergency landing after coming under fire, an American military spokeswoman said. A Reuters photographer saw the helicopter in flames in a field.

"Both crew walked away with minimal injuries," the U.S. spokeswoman said.

The day of violence around Iraq began with the blast at the U.S. base in the northern town of Tal Afar shortly before dawn. The explosives-laden car blew a crater in the street and sent glass and debris flying over a wide area. "It was definitely a suicide bomb -- there were pieces of the individual all over the compound," said Col. Michael Linnington of the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division.

Linnington said soldiers manning the gate at the camp 28 miles west of Mosul opened fire after the driver charged toward them, ignoring orders to stop.

"The soldiers hit the driver several times, causing him to detonate the bomb prematurely," Linnington said. "He was definitely trying to get through the gate and into the camp."

Most of the 58 soldiers injured suffered cuts, bruises and broken bones, the military said, but four were more seriously wounded and were evacuated to a military hospital.

An Iraqi translator at the base was also wounded and two Iraqis in the town were hospitalized with cuts, a doctor said.

The U.S. Army said there was also a suicide attack at an American field hospital north of Baghdad. An officer at the hospital said some soldiers were slightly wounded when a man approached acting as if he was wounded and detonated a device apparently strapped to his back.

Continued

Source by Reuters


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