Baghdad, Dec. 15 (Reuters): Two car bombings in Iraq today killed seven people and shattered hopes that the capture of Saddam Hussein would bring a quick end to violence.
The bombs exploded near police stations hours after President George W. Bush hailed Saddam’s capture by US forces but warned the ousted dictator’s arrest did not mean the end of conflict in Iraq.
The attacks were the first since the US announcement of Saddam’s capture in a pit hideout. A car bomb killed 17 people at a police station in Khalidiyah, west of Baghdad, yesterday before US forces announced they had seized Saddam on Saturday.
A car bomb ripped through a police station at Husseiniyah village, 30 km north of Baghdad today. Six people were killed and more than 20 injured, police said. A second explosives-laden car, with the driver inside, blew up outside Amiriyah criminal investigation department in Baghdad shortly afterwards. The driver was killed and 12 people — eight police and four passers-by — were wounded.
“We were standing outside the police station when a very fast car came, we shouted to try and stop him but he detonated the car,” police officer Mohamed Hashim said. A third car bomb was found and defused.
The violence came after US film of a bushy-bearded, unkempt Saddam meekly undergoing a medical examination was broadcast around the world yesterday. Many Iraqis were jubilant but the capture also raised fears of retaliatory attacks.
Today’s attacks were the latest of a wave that have killed nearly 200 US soldiers and scores of Iraqi policemen and civilians since Bush declared major combat over on May 1.
The US commander in Iraq, Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, described Saddam as “talkative”. Adnan Pachachi, a member of the US-backed Iraqi Governing Council who spoke to Saddam, said: “He was unrepentant and defiant at times.” US officials said an Iraqi taken into custody and interrogated in recent days provided the lead on Saddam. His capture was welcomed by world leaders and financial markets. The US dollar rose by up to one per cent against major currencies in trading on Monday in Asia, stocks jumped and crude oil prices dipped. Iraqi governing council members said Saddam faced trial by a tribunal agreed with Washington only last week.
Ä and that may mean he risks the death penalty.
Rumsfeld said Saddam's treatment would be governed by the Geneva convention.“He will be treated in a humane and professional way,” he said.