The headquarters of the anti-terrorist unit in Baghdad was today targeted in a wave of bomb attacks that left at least 56 people dead.
A suicide car bomber struck at the building in the capital's central Karradah district, killing 10 civilians and 15 policeman.
It was the third major assault on a security compound in as many days. Officials at the site investigate major crimes, and had about 20 suspected insurgents in their custody.
More than 35 people, mainly employees at the unit, were wounded, officials added.
A second car bomb hit a market area outside a Shia mosque in the mostly mixed Shia-Sunni neighbourhood of Shurta in the south-west of the city. At least six people were killed and more than 20 wounded, many of them children, police said.
Roadside bombs targeting police patrols killed four others - two policemen and two bystanders - in Baghdad and at least one policeman in Iskandariya, 30 miles south of the city. Police said dozens were wounded.
Another two policemen were killed and two were wounded when gunmen ambushed their convoy in north Baghdad in an attack police said was an aborted attempt to free detainees who were being transferred to the northern city of Mosul.
Elsewhere, throughout the capital, two police were killed in gun battles with insurgents and two civilians, a private contractor and power plant employee, were shot dead in drive-by shootings.
Fourteen more bodies were found in the continuing wave of sectarian killings - six in the capital and eight brought in by US forces to a hospital in Falluja, 40 miles west of Baghdad, police said.
The violence came as it emerged an aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, had been captured.
The minister of state for national security, Abdul Karim al-Inazi, identified the captive as Fares Kadhim Lafi, an Iraqi seized in Diyala province.
"He carried out 27 operations, including an attack on a minibus that left nine civilians dead," Mr al-Inazi told the Associated Press. He said security forces had received a tip-off about Mr Lafi's whereabouts.
The interior ministry is a predominantly Shia organisation, and has been heavily infiltrated by members of various Shia militias.
Police ruled out today's assault having been aimed at releasing the prisoners, which was the goal of attacks yesterday on other police facilities.
Insurgents emboldened by a jailbreak that freed more than 30 prisoners north of Baghdad on Tuesday laid siege to another prison south of the capital yesterday.
But coalition troops and a special Iraqi unit thwarted the pre-dawn attack, overwhelming the gunmen and capturing 50 of them, police said.
Little Green Footballs
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Posted by X at 20:34