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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A suicide
attacker blew up a car packed with
explosives in a crowd of hundreds of
Iraqis waiting outside a Baghdad army
recruiting center yesterday, killing 47
people in the second bombing in two
days targeting Iraqis working with the
The attack - a day after a suicide
bombing against a police station south
of the capital killed up to 53 people -
backed threats that insurgents would
step up violence to disrupt the planned
June 30 handover of power to the Iraqis.
A campaign to accelerate attacks
against Iraqi "collaborators" and Shiite
Muslims was out-
lined in a document "We have
sent to al-Qaida
leaders that was nuinerous
intercepted by the that in
U.S. military. The ta i t
letter was believed to govern
to have been wntten
by a Jordanian mili- there cou
tant in Iraq, Abu tick n
who said he sought violence."
to spark a Sunni-
Shiite civil war in a - Brig. Gen.
last-ditch attempt to De
wreck the handover. eputy o
The U.S. mili- U.S. mili
tary announced a
$10 million bounty
for al-Zarqawi, Maj. Gen. Charles
Swannack, Jr., commander of the
82nd Airborne Division, said.
The Baghdad attack could be part of
"the ongoing pattern of intimidation
we've seen of late," Brig. Gen. Mark
Kimmitt, the military's deputy opera-
tions chief in Baghdad, told The Asso-
ciated Press in an e-mail interview.
"We have stated numerous times that
in the lead-up to governance, there
could be an uptick in the violence."
There was no immediate indica-
tion who was behind yesterday's
attack but Col. Ralph Baker of the
1st Armored Division said it resem-
bled "the operating technique" of al-
Qaida or Ansar al-Islam, a radical
Muslim group linked to Osama bin
Laden's terror network.
A U.S. government official in Wash-
ington said it's not known who was
responsible for the two bombings. "You
can't rule out Zarqawi's involvement,
but it's more likely the work of former
Baathists," the official said, speaking
on the condition of anonymity.
The blast tore into would-be army
volunteers waiting outside the recruit-
ment center less than a mile from the
heavily fortified Green Zone, where the
U.S. administration has its headquarters.
Baker said a man driving a white 1991
Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra detonated
about 300 to 500 pounds of explosives.
The U.S. military command said 47
were killed and 55 were wounded.
Earlier, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said
46 people were killed and 54 wound-
ld be an
tary in Baghdad
officials could not be
reached on whether
the Iraqi figure had
The Interior Min-
istry said 46 people
were killed and 54
wounded. Maj. John
of the 2nd Brigade
1st Armored Divi-
sion, put the death
toll at 36.
from the vehicle was
scattered across the
road in front of the
center as a heavy
rain soaked troops
and FBI agents look-
Infant mortality rate rises unexpectedly
U.S. infant mortality has climbed for the first time in more than four decades,
mainly because of complications associated with older women putting off moth-
erhood and then having multiple babies via fertility drugs, the government said
At the same time, U.S. life expectancy reached an all-time high of 77.4 years in
2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Life expectancy in
2001 was 77.2 years.
The nation's infant mortality rate climbed from 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births
in 2001 to 7.0 deaths per 1,000 in 2002.
CDC analysts had expected another year of decline - the last time the rate
rose was in 1958.
"We were surprised because it has been declining fairly steadily for more than
four decades," said Joyce Martin, lead statistician for the CDC. "You're always
concerned when an important indicator in public health increases."
The 2002 rise may be a one-time blip, since the U.S. rate for 2003 is expected
to drop, a preliminary review by the CDC indicates.
The rise in infant mortality may reflect the long trend among American women
toward delaying motherhood, Martin said.
GAA CITY, Gaza Strip
Israeli troops kill 15 Palestinians in Gaza raids
Israeli troops rode tanks into the Gaza Strip yesterday searching for Islamic mil-
itants firing rockets at nearby Jewish settlements, and the ensuing battle left at
least 15 Palestinians dead and more than 50 wounded.
The fiercest fighting occurred in the Shajaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza
City. Twelve people were killed and more than 40 were wounded, Palestin-
ian doctors said.
Later yesterday, Hamas vowed retaliation. The group's militant wing
called on all of its cells to carry out "huge martyrdom operations," saying
"all options are open."
In a separate raid in the Rafah area along the Gaza-Egypt border, troops killed
three Palestinians as they searched for arms-smuggling tunnels.
The forces demolished three houses and razed citrus and olive groves.
The fighting in Gaza City erupted before dawn and continued for several houts.
The army and Palestinian residents said the troops pulled out by early afternoon.
Later in the day, the army blew up the house of a Hamas militant who was
killed and sent tanks into the neighborhood.
ing for evidence.
The recruitment center was sur-
rounded by barbed wire and had
sandbagged posts in front of it.
Around 300 Iraqis were gathered
outside its locked gates, waiting for
it to open, and were completely
exposed. Some were lined up to join
the military, others waiting to depart
for a training camp in Jordan.
"I was just telling my buddy that it
was very dangerous to be standing
here," said Ali Hussein, 22. He lay on a
bed soaked in blood at Karkh Hospital,
his body shaking as he gasped for air.
He said he saw a white Oldsmobile
approaching the crowd. "Then I felt
nothing but fire around me." His legs
were covered in bandages and he had
Ghasan Sameer, 32, an officer in the
new Iraqi army who also was wounded,
said the car drove into the crowd and ran
over some people before exploding.
Lawmakers reject gay
The Massachusetts Legislature narrow-
ly rejected a compromise proposal yester-
day that sought to legalize civil unions
but ban same-sex marriages, delivering a
setback to lawmakers who wanted to
avoid taking the divisive issue head-on.
The defeat of the compromise means
that lawmakers will return to the State-
house on today to consider either an
outright ban on gay marriage or letting
the state's constitution remain intact.
The joint House and Senate session
adjourned for the evening about 8:30
p.m. after about six hours of debate. The
bipartisan proposal was crafted by Sen-
ate leaders who wished to overturn a
high court decision legalizing gay mar-
riage while still extending equal benefits
to gay couples. It was rejected 104-94.
Fed warns of risk of
high budget deficit
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan said yesterday "impressive
gains" in the U.S. economy since last
summer should lead to improvements
in the lagging jobs market, but
warned that soaring budget deficits
pose a risk to longer-term business
In delivering the Fed's monetary
report to Congress, Greenspan repeated
the central bank's recent pledge to be
"patient" in keeping interest rates at- a
45-year low to ensure that the economic
rebound takes hold.
He cautioned that such low interest
rates "will not be compatible indefinite-
ly" with the Fed's primary job of fight-
over WMD analysis
Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly
says he was wrong about weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq and that's
made him more skeptical of the Bush
administration as a result.
O'Reilly, who has the top-rated politi-
cal talk show on cable news, was con-
fronted on ABC's "Good Morning
America"about his staterent befteothde
Iraq war that if Saddam Hussein is over-
thrown and there were no such weapons
found, he'd apologize to the nation.
"Well, my analysis was wrong and
I'm sorry," O'Reilly told Charles
Gibson on Tuesday.
"I am much more skeptical of the
Bush administration now than I was at
the time," O'Reilly said.
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