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US Papers Tue: GI Meeting With Officials Bombed
At Least 3 Iraqi Policemen Killed, 8 US Troops and 11 Others Wounded in Baqouba
By DANIEL W. SMITH 04/21/2009 01:59 AM ET
An attack on US troops and embassy employees visiting a council meeting in Diyala province is the only item today, covered in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

From Baghdad
On Monday, a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest killed three Iraqis, including two employees of the U.S. Embassy's office in Baqouba. The blast wounded 19 people, among them eight American soldiers, two other embassy employees and three Iraqi policemen. It was a weekly council meeting which US forces regularly attend.

In recent months, it has been common for suicide bombers to infiltrate Iraqi security forces by wearing a uniform. Ernesto Londoño of the Washington Post reports it was a police uniform, while Steven Lee Myers writes in the New York Times that the bomber was dressed as an Iraqi special forces soldier. Either way, while standing near some other soldiers shortly after the US convoy arrived, he detonated his vest.

Both articles quote Diyala council chairman (or Baqouba city council chairman, depending on the article) Raad al-Dahlagi, who said, "Those Americans were on their way to meet with me," and, “It seems he was waiting for them to arrive.” The latter comment could be attributed to the fact that the meetings are held in the volatile city every Monday at 10:00, and, according to al-Dahlagi, the Americans attend each week.

Both articles give the same basic narrative, from outlining Monday’s attack, to seeing it as a part of a larger effort by a possibly re-invigorated insurgency. Both mention recent claims of responsibility for attacks on websites thought to be associated with al-Qaeda in Iraq and/or the Islamic State of Iraq.

Londoño has a better breakdown of the casualties, writing, “The wounded embassy employees are an American contractor and a British citizen employed as an interpreter and cultural adviser, a U.S. Embassy official said. The two slain employees were Iraqi contractors.” Myers has a few more descriptive details about what happened.
An Iraqi police major said that casualties would have almost certainly been higher had the armored vehicles not shielded many more people. The Americans opened fire immediately after the blast. “There was random shooting everywhere,” said Hamid al-Zaidy, who was on his way to the city’s electricity department when the explosion occurred. “I lay on the ground because the American forces were in a complete state.” In a statement, the American military command said that the soldiers exchanged fire with a gunman; his fate was not clear.
Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, no Iraq coverage.

Comments on the US Papers roundup are welcome at ds@iraqslogger.com


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