Bombs Strike Iraqi City of Basra, Fighting Renews
Apr 2004, 23:12 UTC
68 people have been killed by a series of car bombs in Iraq's
southern city of Basra in the deadliest terrorist attack there
since the fall of Saddam Hussein. An agreement aimed at ending
fighting between insurgents and U.S. Marines in the western Iraqi
town of Fallujah appears to have been short lived.
Anguish in Basra, Iraq's second
largest city, where several car bombs, apparently the work
of suicide bombers, exploded Wednesday morning near police
stations. Among the dead were school children. British-patrolled
Basra had been largely calm in the year since the fall of
A White House spokesman labeled
the blasts the work of thugs and terrorists. There's been
no claim of responsibility, but Basra's governor says he
believes they were carried out by extremists connected to
U.N. Secretary General Kofi
Annan warns what happened in Basra is an indication that
violence in Iraq is spreading, something which he said that
could only have an adverse impact on any U.N. decision to
resume work in the country.
"The security situation on the
ground has a very important impact on our decisions and our
activities," he said.
of heavy fighting returned to the western Iraqi town of Fallujah.
Marines battled Wednesday with Sunni militants. The U.S. forces
said the militants have yet to turn in any of their heavy weapons,
as called for in an agreement aimed at averting a U.S. assault
on the city. The Marines encircling the city are threatening
to move in with overwhelming force following the brutal killings
of four American civilians there last month.
With the level of American troops
in Iraq expected to soon hit 135,000. The Pentagon is not
ruling out the possibility of sending even more troops there,
beyond the 20,000 that have just had their tours of duty
extended for 90 days.
Another country though, has
now decided to pull its forces out of Iraq.
General Jose Miguel Soto Jimenez
of the Dominican Republic said his government plans to bring
its 300 troops home within the next few weeks. The announcement
followed decisions by Spain and Honduras to quit the coalition