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Attacks at Baghdad police stations kill 20
Updated: 2004-12-03 17:44

Insurgents launched two major attacks Friday against police stations in different areas of Baghdad, killing 20 people, including six police officers. One of the attacks was a car bomb, police said.

Iraqis remove a badly wounded civilian from the scene of a mortar attack in central Baghdad, December 2, 2004. A mortar landed in the parking lot of Abu Nawas theatre, wounding at least two people and setting a number of vehicles on fire, Iraqi police on the scene said. [Reuters]

The attacks occurred in the western Amil district and in the Sunni Muslim stronghold of Azamiyah, where police said a car bomb exploded during a clash between Iraqi government security forces and armed rebels around the police station.

Fourteen people were killed and 19 others injured in the Azamiyah blast, according to the Numan hospital. Azamiyah was a major center of support for Saddam Hussein.

Earlier, gunmen stormed a police station in Amil near the road to Baghdad International Airport, killing six police officers, looting weapons and torching two cars, officials said.

Thick black smoke rose from the burning vehicles after the attack in the western Amil district as government forces sealed off the area.

Police Capt. Mohammed al-Jumeili said the insurgents shelled the station with mortars, and then about 15 of them stormed its main courtyard and clashed with police inside. Several officers were wounded, he said.

Detainees being held at the station were also hurt, al-Jumeili said. There was no word on the insurgents' casualties.

The attacks were the latest against Iraq's police and security services, which have been targeted throughout central, western and northern Iraq in recent weeks.

The highway leading to Baghdad International Airport on the capital's western outskirts is considered one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Iraq. Rebels have repeatedly targeted U.S. troops and Iraqi government forces on the busy thoroughfare.

The U.S. Embassy on Thursday barred employees from the dangerous highway.

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