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Al Qaeda goes north: Police chief killed in Mosul

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The US military said in a statement Thursday that two Iraqi policemen were killed and a US and Iraqi soldier were wounded in the attack against Jubouri, who was a native of the province. He hailed from a major predominantly Sunni Arab tribe, whose members have in recent months joined US-funded militia groups dubbed Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs) in the fight against Al Qaeda-linked militants.

The Wednesday attack in Mosul, while not unexpected, was on a tragic scale. At least 34 people were killed and 224 wounded when a three-floor building was blown up in the neighborhood of Al-Zanjili, a notorious insurgent stronghold on Mosul's west side.

Mr. Goran, the deputy governor, says the explosion occurred when the Iraqi Army arrived at the scene after receiving a tip that the abandoned building was being used by insurgents to store weapons and arms.

He says the powerful explosion brought down dozens of old homes in Zanjili. Many people were trapped under the rubble for hours. Fresh television footage of the bomb scene broadcast on Thursday showed a massive crater surrounded by heaps of debris from destroyed homes.

"We asked the central government to declare it a disaster zone," says Goran.

The commander of US forces in Northern Iraq, Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling told the Monitor in a telephone interview that US military experts who examined the scene Thursday concluded that nearly 25 tons (50,000 pounds) of explosive material was used in making it one of the largest bombings in Iraq since the start of the war.
General Hertling said that this "spectacular attack" may be the work of new Al Qaeda leaders in Mosul trying to establish themselves after the capture or killing of their predecessors.

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