A car bomb has exploded
at a main police station in Baghdad, causing many casualties. The
incident follows an attack on a U.S. military police convoy in which
two American soldiers were killed and one wounded.
The car bombing occurred before midday at the Rasafa police station
in western Baghdad. It is a major police headquarters for the capital.
VOA reporter Selwan al-Naimi, an eyewitness, was thrown across
his car by the blast. "I saw many casualties, people injured, many
ambulances, car ambulances, and American helicopters. Humvees came,
suddenly," he said.
The station is the headquarters of Baghdad's Acting Police Chief,
General Hassan al-Obeidi. It is located across the street from
the police academy where part of Iraq's reconstituted police force
is being trained.
Meanwhile, U.S. military officials announced that two soldiers
with a military police brigade died Monday when their convoy struck
an explosive device in southern Baghdad. A third soldier was reportedly
Four days ago, a car bomb exploded outside the main mosque in Najaf,
killing more than 80 people including a Shi'ite Muslim leader, Ayatollah
Mohamed Baqer al-Hakim. The cleric was buried in Najaf Tuesday after
three days of mourning attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
American military officials say they are due Wednesday to transfer
responsibility for security in the Najaf area to an international
force led by Poland. But they add that patrols by U.S. Marines
will continue in Najaf city for several weeks.
The Iraqi Governing Council Monday named a cabinet of ministers,
the first since the fall of the Saddam Hussein government. The
cabinet, which is divided along ethnic and sectarian lines like
the council itself, contains 13 Shi'ite Muslim ministers, including
the ministers of oil, petroleum, and trade.
Sunni Muslims hold five ministries, including finance and labor,
while Kurdish leaders also hold five posts, including foreign affairs.
Turkomen and Christians received one ministry each.
The cabinet does not have ministries of defense or information.
These agencies, which included many of the former regime's most
feared security services, are being reorganized.
Nor does the cabinet have a ministry of religious affairs, a
concession to the sectarian tensions that plague the country.
The chairman of the Governing Council will act as prime minister.
The rotating position passed Monday to the leader of the Iraqi
National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi.