December 18, 2007 in Nation/World

Truck bomb targets critical Iraqi dam

Ann M. Simmons and Tina Susman Los Angeles Times

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Airstrikes condemned

» Iraq’s parliament on Monday condemned Turkey’s raids against Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq on Sunday, saying that the Turkish planes bombed several Iraqi villages and killed innocent people.

» Turkey said the attack was aimed at rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and that U.S. intelligence had been used in the bombing.

BAGHDAD – A truck bomb parked on a bridge connecting two gates of the Mosul dam exploded Monday, killing a security officer, officials said.

The attack on the dam was the latest reminder of militants’ intent to undermine major infrastructure projects in Iraq, and highlighted continued instability in northern Nineveh province. American military officials acknowledge that insurgents have sought shelter in the north after being driven out of Baghdad and other provinces by major summer military offensives.

Reconstruction work on the Mosul dam, which was built in the 1980s, has been one of the major projects undertaken with the nearly $20 billion in funds that Congress approved for Iraqi reconstruction in 2003. The money was a one-time allotment, and only about $2 billion is left.

U.S. engineers have expressed concern about the dam bursting, causing massive flooding as far away as Baghdad, approximately 250 miles south.

Elsewhere in Iraq, government officials and security forces said the transfer of control of southern Babil province from U.S. forces to Iraqis would be delayed indefinitely.

“No time and place have been decided yet,” said Brig. Gen. Faris Jibouri, acting police chief in the provincial capital of Hillah.

In November, a provincial government spokesman and a police spokesman told reporters in Hillah that Dec. 17 or today were possible dates for the hand-over. And on Monday, a member of Babil’s provincial council said that Dec. 16 also had been considered as a possible date.

But U.S. military officials in Baghdad said Monday that Babil was not scheduled “for provincial Iraqi control until June 2008,” and only the transfer of Basra province – also in the country’s south – had been scheduled for December.

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