BAGHDAD – A car bomb killed at least six people in Ramadi on Wednesday, shattering the calm of an area that in recent months had been considered one of the safest in the country.
Ramadi police officials said the bomb exploded near the city’s courthouse in the late morning, after a suicide bomber drove it to the site. There are conflicting reports of the number of dead, but women, children and at least one policeman were said to be among the fatalities. At least 30 civilians were injured, Iraqi police officials said.
“The attacker’s body was ripped into pieces and his car was completely destroyed, damaging 10 civilian cars,” a police official said.
The attack was believed to be the most significant breach of security in central Ramadi in months. The capital of Iraq’s al-Anbar province, Ramadi has become one of the country’s quietest cities since Sunni Arab tribal leaders in late 2006 turned on insurgents and began cooperating with U.S. and Iraqi security forces.
Military officials in al-Anbar say attacks in Ramadi have dropped from an average of 25-30 per day in January to less than one a day, and that roadside bomb blasts have fallen 98 percent since February. Also Wednesday, two British and one American soldier were reported killed. The British military announced that two British soldiers died when a Royal Air Force helicopter crashed near Baghdad on Tuesday. Two troops were injured.
The American died Tuesday in a bomb blast in Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The deceased soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. At least 3,874 U.S. forces have died since the start of the war, according to icasualties.org.