Marine Killed in Attack
One Marine was killed and five were wounded Tuesday in three attacks in this Sunni Triangle city west of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, south of the capital near the town of Hillah, a suicide bomber blew up his car outside the house of a police chief, killing himself and wounding seven, officials said.
And farther south, in the holy city of Najaf, a riot erupted as unemployed workers demanded faster processing of job applications.
The attacks on Marines in three neighborhoods of Ramadi involved the detonation of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, one of which killed a Marine patrolling on foot. A second Marine was severely wounded.
The Marines took over from the Army in the city of 400,000 about two weeks ago. Whereas the Army preferred patrolling in vehicles, the Marine Corps began foot patrols soon after taking control of the region in an effort to reach out to the citizenry.
No injuries were reported in the second IED attack, on a convoy. In the third, a Marine Humvee struck the explosive device, which proved a prelude to two more assaults on the same convoy as a crowd of Iraqis watched. Four Marines were wounded.
“They came at us from the front, back and the side. It was coordinated,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew Jones. “They’re starting to get more sophisticated.”
The armored Humvee struck the bomb blocks from an Iraqi government building in a crowded neighborhood.
As Marines were pulled to safety, the Humvee burned to the ground.
“We were driving and then there was a tremendous noise and fireball,” said Lance Cpl. Noah Dayton, who was behind the Humvee.
Shrapnel shattered the windshield of Dayton’s vehicle. “Without that windshield, I’d be dead,” he said.
Minutes later, the convoy was attacked by small-arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade. Marines noticed the grenade snaking along a few inches above the ground before it struck a Humvee, flattening its back tires. The grenade’s low level suggests it was fired by someone hiding in a ditch.
In Najaf, seven people were injured and 20 were arrested after the demonstration by the unemployed men turned violent. The crowd of several hundred, protesting delays in the processing of applications for jobs with the police force, began throwing stones, setting fire to cars, smashing windows and attacking Iraqi police officers.
Spanish troops stationed in the city joined with police to help control the situation.
“The incidents that happened today were caused by the bad American polices that have failed to provide job opportunities for the unemployed,” said Mohammed Mousawi, head of the department overseeing humanitarian organizations in Najaf.
“And it is caused by the corruption which results in people having to pay bribes to get jobs,” he said.
Times staff writer Alissa J. Rubin in Baghdad and special correspondent Saad Fakhrildeen in Najaf contributed to this report.