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A series of car bomb blasts have torn through Baghdad and the northern Iraq city of Mosul
A series of car bomb blasts have torn through Baghdad and the northern Iraq city of Mosul, killing at least 21 people and wounding scores. As the car bombers struck, U.S. forces kept up operations against rebel-held towns elsewhere aimed at establishing control throughout the country ahead of January elections. Air strikes were launched against suspected militants in Falluja. In the first blast in western Baghdad, a car blew up on Monday near one of the entrances to the heavily fortified Green Zone, close to an Iraqi security forces recruitment post, killing at least 10 people and wounding 70, doctors and witnesses said. A U.S. military spokesman said no American troops were killed or wounded in the attack, but had no further information. A second car bomb exploded about an hour later as a U.S. military convoy was passing along Baghdad's Sadoun Street, a major thoroughfare on the eastern side of the Tigris river. The blast destroyed several cars, shattered dozens of shop windows and sprayed wreckage across the street, leaving a car door hanging from a street sign. At least four people were killed and a dozen wounded, Iraq's Interior Ministry said. "I saw a head in one place and a leg in another. This was a suicide bombing," said one bystander as thick clouds of black smoke billowed behind him and U.S. helicopters circled overhead. The U.S. military said no soldiers were killed or wounded. In a third attack, a car bomb exploded outside a primary school in the northern city of Mosul, killing seven people, including two children, police said. Eleven people were wounded. The car, driven by two men, may have exploded prematurely, a U.S. officer at the scene said, as there was no obvious target in the area, a quiet district in the south of the city. In the first Baghdad attack, witnesses said a car raced towards an entrance to the Green Zone, home to the Iraqi interim government, but detonated before reaching the gate, exploding amid civilians milling around the recruitment site. Recruitment centres have been repeatedly attacked in recent months as insurgents try to cripple U.S. attempts to create viable Iraqi security forces. One attack last month killed 47 recruits in Baghdad, informs Reuters. According to Boston, Insurgents unleashed a pair of powerful car bombs near the symbol of U.S. authority in Iraq the Green Zone, where the U.S. Embassy and key government offices are located and hotels occupied by hundreds of foreigners. The two blasts in Baghdad as well as two more in Mosul brought the day's bombing toll to at least 24 dead and more than 100 wounded. In Fallujah, American warplanes unleashed strikes against suspected terrorist hideouts and weapons caches. At least 11 people, including three women and four children, died in the attacks and 12 others were wounded, hospital officials said. The military, which regularly accuses hospitals of inflating casualty figures, said the strikes targeted followers of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Kidnappers freed two Indonesian women, but a separate militant group claimed to have killed a Turkish man and a longtime Iraqi resident of Italy. The U.S. command reported two of its soldiers were killed at a Baghdad traffic checkpoint Sunday. In Baqouba, a city 35 miles northeast of the capital, a police commander was assassinated in a drive-by shooting, police said. Insurgents also fired mortar rounds at a municipal building, killing one person and wounding seven. There were also assassinations in Baghdad, where gunmen killed a senior official of Iraq's Sciences and Technology Ministry and a female employee near the southeastern Zayona suburb, Abdul-Rahman said. Two car bombs ripped through Baghdad streets on Monday, with one blast killing at least 15 people and wounding 81 at an entrance to the Green Zone, the seat of the U.S. Embassy and key Iraqi government offices, officials said. In the first explosion, a four-wheel-drive vehicle packed with explosives detonated outside the heavily fortified complex, Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman said. Yarmouk Hospital received 15 bodies and 81 wounded from the explosion, said Sabah Aboud, the facility's chief registration official. No Americans were believed hurt or killed in the blast, which happened shortly before 9 a.m. near a checkpoint at the western entrance to the Green Zone, said Maj. Phil Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division "I was thrown 10 meters away and hit the wall," said Wissam Mohammed, 30, who was visiting a nearby recruiting center for Iraqi security forces when the explosion happened. He lay in a bed at Yarmouk Hospital, his right hand broken, his head wrapped in bandages and his clothes stained with blood. In rebel-held Fallujah, American warplanes unleashed strikes on two houses early Monday, killing at least 11 people, including women and children, hospital officials said. The military, which regularly accuses hospitals of inflating casualty figures, said the strikes targeted followers of Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and their associates. A strike in the central al-Jumhuriyah area killed nine people, including three women and four children, said Dr. Adil Khamis of Fallujah General Hospital. Twelve were injured, including six women and three children, he said. They include residents of neighboring houses that were damaged in the blast, reports ABCNEWS. A second strike in the city's southern Al-Shuhada neighborhood killed two more people, Khamis said.
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