stay a single day in Iraq. UN must take action against US. Already the British "The Times" called for UN intervention to save Iraq unity and put an end to civil war and bloodshed caused mainly by U.S. presence.
Victims Of Nazi Bush
Associated France Press (AFP) 20/10/2006
Northern Iraq cities blitzed in multiple attacks
by Dave Clark
BAGHDAD (AFP) - A series of deadly suicide bomb attacks launched another day of violence in Iraq as a fierce debate over how to prosecute the war gripped London and Washington.
The northern city of Mosul shuddered under apparently coordinated attacks coming every 20 minutes, including several suicide car bombs, mortar fire and small arms assaults against coalition forces and Iraqi police.
The bloodiest attack was a massive suicide truck bomb against a police station that local authorities say killed 11 and wounded 26 -- the vast majority of them innocent bystanders -- but more blasts followed.
Police have closed the entrances to the city and imposed a curfew following the 10 attacks, which took place over just three hours. The toll apart from the truck bomb was estimated at four civilian dead.
Two of the suicide attacks were against US forces, but there was no immediate word on military casualties.
According to US military spokesman Major General Caldwell, the past three weeks have seen a shift in focus of attacks from civilians to both US and Iraqi security forces.
So far in October, he added, 73 US soldiers have been killed, he said. US forces are losing an average of four soldiers a day and are on course to lose more in October than in any month since the battle of Fallujah in November 2004.
"The violence is indeed disheartening," Caldwell said. "In Baghdad alone we have seen a 22 percent increase in attacks during the first three weeks of Ramadan as compared to the three weeks proceeding Ramadan."
"In Baghdad, operation Together Forward has made a difference in the focus areas, but has not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction of levels of violence."
Folowing the Mosul assault, another suicide car bomb detonated in another north city, the oil hub of Kirkuk, killing 12 people and wounding 68 outside a bank in the ethnically divided town.
The bomber blew up his car at the entrance to Bab al-Aswad bank in the south of Kirkuk just as Iraqi soldiers were waiting to collect their salaries, said local police chief Brigadier General Adel Zine al-Abidin.
A large part of the bank building, two army vehicles and several nearby shops were set on fire by the blast.
Against this backdrop of increased violence, the debate over the war is heating up in Washington, forcing an unusual admission from President George W. Bush that the situation is in some ways comparable to Vietnam in 1968.
Bush was asked if he agreed with a New York Times columnist's comparison of the strife in Iraq with the Tet Offensive, which became seen as the tipping point in America's most famous defeat.
"He could be right," Bush told ABC news. "There's certainly a stepped-up level of violence."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has also been forced to defend his staunch support of the Bush strategy in Iraq amid claims that his country's 7,200 troops there are effectively being "held hostage" to a failing US plan.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Blair warned that premature withdrawal would be "disastrous", and vowed to hold the course.
US strategy has long been to build up Iraq's government and security forces until they are able to contain extremist elements, but this year's outbreak of sectarian violence has exposed serious failings in Iraqi units.
Police units especially have been accused of collaborating with the Shiite sectarian militias which US commanders now describe as the biggest single threat to Iraq's future.
Now, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's own determination to fight the militias is also in question, after he ordered US forces Wednesday to release a Shiite militant detained on suspicion of running a death squad.
In other violence, five people were killed, including two police, in a bomb attack against a police convoy, and Brigadier General Kadhim Mahdi of the border police was assassinated in the south Baghdad neighborhood of Saidiyah.
Across Diyalah province, northeast of Baghdad, nine people were killed in separate incidents.