BAGHDAD (AP) -- A pair of suicide car bombings Sunday devastated the heart of Iraq's capital, killing at least 147 people in the country's dead...
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.
— Today is Wednesday, Oct. 14, the 287th day of 2009. There are 78 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Oct. 14, 1939, during World War II, a German U-boat torpedoed and sank the HMS Royal Oak, a British battleship anchored at Scapa Flow in Scotland's Orkney Islands; 833 of the more than 1,200 men aboard were killed.
On this date:
In 1066, Normans under William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings.
Iraqi officials say about 15 prisoners have escaped from a prison in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit and authorities have locked down the city as they search for fugitives.
Iraqi military spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said Thursday that six of the escaped inmates are considered dangerous.
A curfew was imposed on the city after the escape Wednesday night. Authorities are distributing wanted posters with photos of the fugitives and are running checkpoints around the city, which is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad.
Khalaf says extra surveillance has also been ordered at Iraq's borders and throughout the northwest of the country.
Militants fired several mortars or rockets into the Green Zone in Baghdad during Vice President Joe Biden's trip to the Iraqi capital.... ...
The GOP's Runnin' Off the Rails tour continued this week with Sarah Palin announcing she will resign, Mark Sanford admitting he "crossed lines" with multiple women (while providing an instant new slang term for sex: "crossing the ultimate line"), James Inhofe welcoming Al Franken to the Senate by saying, "We are going to get the clown from Minnesota," and John Boehner spending an hour on the House floor reading aloud portions of the landmark climate-change bill he labeled "a piece of shit." Also this week, U.S. troops in Iraq were finally cause for celebration, fireworks, and dancing in the streets of Baghdad. It turns out it was not our arrival in Iraq that was greeted with flowers and sweets but our departure. It's an agonizing lesson learned six years, $1 trillion, and 4,321 U.S. deaths too late.