Thursday, Nov 13, 2003
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By Atul Aneja
The explosion, at 10.50 a.m. local time, outside the headquarters of the Italian military police base devastated the entire front face of the building. Fires that reportedly erupted from the targeted structure were visible for several hours after the detonation and some more people, it was suspected, might still be buried under the smouldering debris. A spokesman for the Carabinieri [Italian military police] force in Rome said that nine of the Italians killed belonged to the military police while three were from the army. "Some of the Carabinieri are trapped under the rubble," he said. Unlike earlier car bombings in Iraq, a truck apparently crashed into the entrance of the Italian police headquarters and was followed by an explosives-laden car that blew up.
The 2,300-strong Italian contingent in Iraq is part of the British-led force in-charge of the security of the southern part of the country.
Wednesday's attack has given rise to speculation that the Iraqi resistance might be beginning to spread to southern Iraq which is dominated by Shias. On Tuesday, a roadside bomb exploded along a road in the southern city of Basra, which was frequented by British troops. Last week, Iraqi guerilla fighters killed an army officer from Poland another country that has sent its forces to aid the Americans in Iraq near the Shia stronghold of Karbala.
In another incident, an American soldier was killed in a roadside bomb explosion close to the town of Taji, northwest of Baghdad, bringing the total number of U.S. fatalities since May 1 to 152. On Tuesday, an Iraqi fighter targeted the U.S. headquarters with rockets, causing damage to vehicles in what has been described as the high security "green zone."
Meanwhile, tensions between the American occupation authorities and the U.S.-appointed Iraqi governing council seem to have come to the fore amid reports that Washington is unhappy with the council's performance, especially its efforts to draw up a new Iraqi constitution.
Mahmoud Otham, a member of the 25-member body, said on Wednesday that "such accusations are unreasonable and do no good for the country."
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