Attacks Prompt Iraq Crackdown

Wrecked vehicle after bomb blast near Bulgarian base, Karbala, Iraq, video still 2004/7/15
After two days of violence including deadly car bombings and attacks on Iraqi officials and oil installations, Iraq's interim prime minister on Thursday announced the creation of a new security service to target insurgents.

The new service, the General Security Directorate, "will annihilate those terrorists groups, God willing," Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said during a news conference.

Attackers detonated a car bomb near police and government buildings in the western city of Haditha, killing 10 Iraqis, including three police officers. Twenty-seven people were wounded.

Police apparently thwarted a second attack in Karbala, where police chased a car after receiving a tip it was filled with explosives. The two people inside detonated their bomb, killing only themselves and causing no other casualties.

The violence came a day after a suicide attacker in Baghdad killed at least 10 people in a car bombing near Iraqi government headquarters and insurgents assassinated a provincial governor in an ambush of his convoy.

Police and government officials have repeatedly been targeted by insurgents, who view them as lackeys of U.S. forces here.

In other developments:

  • A decapitated body in an orange jumpsuit was discovered in the Tigris River north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The identity of the body, found by Iraqi police Wednesday night, was not known, the military said. Police turned the body over to the U.S. military for identification.
  • The militant group holding a Filipino truck driver hostage said they would release him when the last Filipino soldier leaves Iraq, which should take place by the end of the month, according to a statement read on Al-Jazeera. It came just an hour after Al-Jazeera showed a video of the captive, Angelo dela Cruz, thanking his government for agreeing to withdraw. Meanwhile, a Saudi company employing an Egyptian driver held hostage said it would stop work here to win his freedom.
  • Saboteurs drilled into an oil pipeline in the south and an explosion damaged a portion of an oil pipeline between two northern cities, as insurgents continue to hit at economic life in Iraq, reports CBS News Correspondent Elaine Cobbe.
  • Two U.S. soldiers were killed and two others injured after their vehicle rolled over on a road in northern Iraq. To date, some 883 Americans have died in Iraq.
  • A U.S. Marine who disappeared in Iraq and turned up in Lebanon nearly three weeks later left Germany after six days of debriefing and evaluation in a U.S. military hospital.
  • Militiamen loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are regrouping and receiving training from Iranian agents, the Christian Science Monitor reports, quoting U.S. intelligence.
  • President Bush says he knows he did the right thing in Iraq, even though two investigations have now concluded he went to war on the basis of faulty intelligence.
  • Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 2003 speech to the United Nations laying out the case for war contained some intelligence that State Department analysts had warned was doubtful, The Los Angeles Times reports.
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee gets a classified briefing Thursday on the status of several Pentagon investigations into prisoner abuse in Iraq.
  • House-Senate bargainers agreed on a $417 billion defense bill that includes $25 billion for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The violent insurgency that has wracked the country since the fall of Saddam's regime 15 months ago has continued since U.S. forces handed power over to Iraq's interim government.

    Since taking power, Allawi's government has made clear it intended to crack down on militants who have caused chaos with assassinations, bombings, sabotage and other attacks. The violence has hampered efforts to rebuild and recover after war and years of international sanctions.

    The government has passed emergency laws giving Allawi the power to declare curfews and impose limited martial law to curb the violence and has repeatedly threatened the militants.

    The new security service appears to be another step in the fledgling government's efforts to tackle the violence.

    In remarks published in the al-Hayat newspaper, Allawi was quoted as saying Iraq has arrested operatives linked to al Qaeda and is seeing increasing coordination between the terror network and Iraqi insurgents loyal to ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

    Allawi said that among al Qaeda operatives arrested by Iraqi forces were the driver of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian linked to al Qaeda who is accused of deadly attacks and kidnappings in Iraq and elsewhere.

    Allawi also said millions of dollars are being channeled by Saddam loyalists in neighboring countries to operatives to carry out terror attacks.

    He specifically mentioned Jordan and Syria, but told the London-based pan-Arab newspaper that his criticism wasn't of governments but of those who abused the hospitality of countries that took them in when they fled Iraq.

    Allawi told reporters that he had asked Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Morocco and Egypt to contribute troops to the multinational force to help him secure the country. He also announced that he would be going on his first foreign tour as prime minister to nearby Arab countries.

    "We would like to strengthen our relationship with our neighbors and we are making this a priority," he said.

    Insurgents detonated a massive car bomb Wednesday at a checkpoint just outside the so-called Green Zone, former home to the U.S. occupation government and currently home to the Iraqi interim government and the U.S. and British embassies.

    The blast ripped a deep crater in the road and killed 10 Iraqis, many as they waited in line to apply for jobs with the government, the Health Ministry said. The U.S. military said 11 were killed.

    Hours later, insurgents tossed hand grenades and fired machine guns at a convoy transporting Nineveh Gov. Osama Youssef Kashmoula, killing him and two of his guards, Iraqi and U.S. military officials said. Mosul is the largest city in Nineveh province.

    Kashmoula was attacked between the cities of Beiji and Tikrit north of Baghdad as he traveled to the capital, the U.S. military said. Four of the attackers were killed in the fight, Mosul officials said.