Car Bombings Kill 9; 2 U.S. Jets Disappear

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Insurgents killed at least nine people when they detonated car bombs Monday in Iraq, continuing a violent campaign that has intensified since a new government was formed last week.

In the last five days, more than 25 car bombings have killed at least 120 people, including at least 11 U.S. troops. On Monday, a soldier from the 1st Corps Support Command was killed and another was injured when a roadside bomb hit their patrol south of Baghdad’s airport, the U.S. military said today.

A British soldier was killed Monday by a roadside bomb in Amarah, 190 miles southeast of Baghdad, officials said.

The U.S. military reported today that it had lost contact with two Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet jets from the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, flying in support of the Iraq mission.


There was no indication of hostile fire in the area at the time contact was lost, the military said, without giving a location.

The only Marine squadron of F/A-18s aboard the Vinson is Squadron 323, the Death Rattlers, based at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, according to the carrier’s official website. The squadron has seen heavy duty over Iraq for several years.

The crew members’ status was “unknown,” the military said in a statement issued in Baghdad. Search efforts were underway.

More than 1,580 American military personnel have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

On Monday, a car bomb detonated in Baghdad’s busy shopping and business district of Karada, killing at least six passersby and wounding 12.

In Baghdad’s Zayouna district, a car bomb killed two police officers and wounded 10 civilians. Also in the capital, a car bombing targeted the convoy of Gen. Rasheed Flayih Muhammad, head of a special police commando unit. Maj. Luay Abdel Hamid, an assistant to the general, said the only casualty was the bomber.

In the northern city of Mosul, two car bombers struck, killing one person and wounding 15.

Amid the violence, government officials in Australia said Monday that they had formed a team of diplomats, defense staff and police who were going to Iraq to try to free an engineer abducted by Iraqi insurgents.

But they said Australia would not remove its troops from Iraq or pay a ransom. In a videotape, a man identified himself as Douglas Wood, 63, an Australian who lives in Alamo, Calif., and appealed for the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops. Two people wearing masks pointed automatic weapons at him.

“Please help me. I don’t want to die,” Wood said.

Prime Minister John Howard said: “Everybody knows the position of the Australian government in relation to hostage demands. We can’t have the foreign policy of this country dictated by terrorists.”