Worst attack in 9 months: bomber kills 4 U.S. troops in Iraq

BAGHDAD — Four American soldiers were killed at a checkpoint in northern Iraq on Monday when a suicide car bomber attacked their vehicle, authorities said.

The U.S.-led Multi-National Corps in Iraq said that three soldiers died in the attack in the northern city of Mosul and a fourth later died of wounds. An interpreter also was killed, and two Iraqi police officers were wounded at the checkpoint.

Iraqi police said the suicide bomber attacked the American patrol in west Mosul around 12:40 p.m.

According to the Pentagon, Monday's attack was the deadliest since May 2, when four Marines were killed in a roadside bombing in Anbar, a western province that was once the heart of the Sunni insurgency.

The security situation in Iraq has improved significantly in recent months, with few American casualties. However, Monday's attack highlights just how fragile the country remains after almost six years of sectarian bloodshed.

Despite the security clampdown, the city of Mosul remains something of a battleground where relations are uneasy between Arabs and Kurds.

Tensions ran especially high on Jan. 31, when Iraq held provincial elections for 14 of its 18 provinces. In Nineveh, where Mosul is, the Kurdish parties in power were defeated by the Sunni Arab nationalist party al Hadbaa, which garnered 48.8 percent of the vote.

Monday was a violent day in Mosul.

Two children were wounded in a roadside bombing, and a mortar attack in downtown Mosul killed three people, two of whom were police officers. Seven others, including a police officer, were wounded.

Separately, seven people were wounded Monday evening in northern Baghdad in a mortar attack. In the southern port city of Najaf, a roadside bomb blew up in front of a police official's home, but no casualties were reported.

The names of the U.S. soldiers who died are being withheld until their families are notified.

(Daniel is a staff writer for The Miami Herald.)


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