Bomb Blasts Iraqi Businesses

March 5, 2007

A three day lull was shattered in Baghdad Monday morning when a suicide bomber blew up in a busy commercial district.

More than two dozen people were killed and more than 50 wounded. The blast hit a paper market setting off raging fires and sending blood
stained papers floating, littering the area.

The neighborhood, which has avoided major violence until now, is a mix of Sunni and Shiite owned businesses and shoppers.

That attack comes on the heels of a major push by nearly 12 hundred U.S. and Iraqi troops into Sadr City, a Shiite militia stronghold, and base
for fighters loyal to radical cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr.

They refer to the operation as "Soft Knock," meaning troops are
spreading through the neighborhood trying to gather information from the locals about any pockets of resistance, rather than beating down doors looking for insurgents.

"I'm looking to see how well national police are performing" said Major Ian Glover.

American troops say Sadr City is really no different than most other
Iraqi towns.

"They're happy were here" said one soldier.

In the continued effort to hand over control, Iraqi troops in Sadr City
took a more visible presence than U.S. soldiers also an attempt to
diffuse Shiite anger which has exploded into street battles against
American troops in the past.

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