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Car Bombing Was a Suicide Attack

Car Bombing Was a Suicide Attack

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CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar (AP) -- A car exploded at a U.S. checkpoint in western Iraq, killing three coalition soldiers, a pregnant woman and the car's driver, the U.S. Central Command said Friday.

Later, the Iraqi government news agency, in a report carried on Arab satellite TV, reported that two Iraqi women carried out a suicide attack on U.S. forces northwest of Baghdad. It appeared to refer to the same blast.

Al-Jazeera also carried video of two women vowing to commit suicide attacks. The station did not specify if the two were involved in the explosion, though it broadcast their statements immediately after citing the news agency report.

Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, Central Command deputy director of operations, described the bombing late Thursday as terrorist.

"These are not military actions. These are terrorist actions," he said.

The apparent suicide attack occurred Thursday night about 11 miles southwest of the Haditha Dam. The site is northwest of Baghdad and about 80 miles east of the Syrian border.

Brooks said U.S. special operations forces were working in the region of the dam, but declined to give further details on what forces were killed.

Al-Jazeera broadcast separate videotapes of two Iraqi women, each of whom stood in front of the Iraqi flag, right hand on the Quran placed on a table in front of her and left hand brandishing an automatic rifle.

A woman who identified herself as "martyrdom-seeker Nour Qaddour al-Shanbari" swore on the holy book of Islam "to defend Iraq ... and take revenge from the enemies of the (Islamic) nation, Americans, imperialists, Zionists" and Arabs who have submitted to the foreigners.

"We say to our leader and holy war comrade, the hero commander Saddam Hussein, that you have sisters that you and history will boast about," said the woman, who wore the red-checked keffiyeh, an Arab headscarf.

In a separate video, another woman, who identified herself as Wadad Jamil Jassem, stood in a similar pose.

"I have devoted myself for jihad (holy war) for the sake of God and against the American, British and Israeli infidels and to defend the soil of our precious and dear country," she said.

The videotapes were similar to those distributed of Palestinian suicide bombers after attacks against Israelis.

"A pregnant female stepped out of the vehicle and began screaming in fear," a U.S. Central Command statement said. "At this point the civilian vehicle exploded, killing three coalition force members who were approaching the vehicle and wounding two others." The statement said the woman and the driver also were killed.

Brooks said it was impossible to know if the woman voluntarily took part in the attack.

In the first suicide attack against American forces, a bomber posing as a taxi driver pulled up close to a roadblock north of Najaf on Saturday, waved to American troops for help, then blew his vehicle up as they approached, killing four.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein rewarded the officer, honoring him with a posthumous promotion, two new medals and a huge financial windfall for his family.

The Iraqi government has said suicide bombings will be a "routine military policy" and has promised more attacks.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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