Renewed Attacks Raise Fears Of Iraqi Insurgents
LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
NPR's Mike Shuster has the story from Baghdad.
MIKE SHUSTER: The targets were mostly police and other Iraqi security forces. In Baghdad, a car bomb behind a police station - the first of three in the capital - left several nearby buildings crumbling. Fifteen police and civilians were killed. In Kut, a hundred miles southeast of Baghdad, a similar blast, between a police station and a local government council building, left more than 20 dead and nearly 100 wounded. There were similar attacks in Mosul, Kirkuk, Ramadi, Falluja, Mugdadiyah, and several smaller towns. The wave of attacks, which were certainly coordinated, left many in Iraq shaken.
ABU SALMAN: (Foreign language spoken)
SHUSTER: They did the bombings because of the Americans, said Abu Salman, at his butcher shop in the Karada neighborhood of Baghdad. They claim that when the Americans leave, there will be more bombs in Iraq.
ABU MUHAMMAD: (Foreign language spoken)
SHUSTER: Abu Muhammad, a construction worker agreed. They do think the Americans are weaker now, so let's do it, he said.
SALMAN: (Foreign language spoken)
SHUSTER: There is little doubt that the attacks yesterday were well-coordinated. And they appear to have been the work of Sunni insurgents. That's the view of Hamid al Kifaey, the former spokesman for the Iraqi governing council.
HAMID AL KIFAEY: It could be al-Qaida, but al- Qaida is coordinating its efforts with other groups, with other armed groups - some groups which probably are remnants of the old regime.
SHUSTER: This particular moment appears to have provided an opportunity for the insurgents, says Hamid al Kifaey.
AL KIFAEY: There is a resurgence and it's not helped by the political vacuum. The Americans are leaving. There is some sort of uncertainty in Iraq now. It's six months since the elections, and the government has not been formed.
SHUSTER: Last week, Jeffrey Feltman, assistant secretary of state for the Near East, was in Baghdad. Insurgent attacks were already on the rise, but they had not yet reached yesterday's level. Feltman argued that the current government of Iraq was not going to collapse in the wake of an uptick in insurgent activity.
JEFFREY FELTMAN: You don't see the government crumbling under the pressure. What you see are horrific attacks by any means - awful. But you do see a government that despite a political gridlock at the top is functioning, institutions that are certainly working in a far better way than they were working, say, eight years ago.
SHUSTER: Mike Shuster, NPR News, Baghdad.
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