Suicide bombers struck near three hotels popular with Western journalists and businessmen Monday just as Iraq announced the execution of Saddam Hussei...
BAGHDAD — Iraqis vented anger Monday at a major security lapse that allowed two suicide truck bombers to penetrate what was supposed to be one of Baghdad's safest areas, killing 155 people including 24 children on a bus leaving a daycare center next to one of the government ministries targeted.
Sunday's twin suicide blasts in the heart of the capital struck the Justice Ministry and the Baghdad Provincial Administration, the worst attacks in more than two years. They raised fears about Iraq's ability to protect itself as it prepares for January elections and the U.S. military withdrawal.
The children who were killed were on a bus leaving a daycare center near the Justice Ministry when the attack occurred, said an official at the hospital where the bodies were brought. A police official confirmed the death toll and said the bus driver was also killed and six children injured. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Baghdad's top security officials brought reinforcements to guard government institutions Monday and blocked streets around the capital, acting on intelligence suggesting such buildings could be the militants' next target, Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, a spokesman for the city's operations command center told The Associated Press.
But those measures seemed insufficient to many angry Iraqis who fear more attacks and question the ability of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government to keep the country secure.
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday shut down public access to pretrial hearings in the prosecution of five Blackwater security guards for allegedly killing Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.
The hearings will delve into whether government investigators were tainted by statements the guards gave shortly after the shootings on Sept. 16, 2007, that killed 14 unarmed civilians.
The guards gave the statements during a preliminary State Department inquiry, under a limited grant of immunity from prosecution, meaning the statements could not be used in the subsequent investigation that resulted in criminal charges.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina said he wants to shield witnesses and potential jurors from pretrial publicity.
In court on Wednesday, Urbina rejected a request by The Washington Post to open the proceedings, saying the rights of the five guards to a fair trial outweighed the public's interest in attending the proceedings.