BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – An explosion damaged part of the main
pipeline running from Iraq’s northern oil fields yesterday, forcing
a reduction in the amount of oil available for export.

In Irbil, 200 miles north of Baghdad, police shot and killed the
driver of a car packed with 220 pounds of explosives as he
approached the police ministry office, the U.S. military said.

The vehicle did not explode, U.S. officials said. A car bombing
in Irbil last month killed three people and injured four American
intelligence officers.

It was unclear whether the pipeline explosion near the city of
Hadeetha, 125 miles northwest of Baghdad, was caused by saboteurs,
a senior Oil Ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

He said the explosion ripped open part of the main pipeline
linking the northern oil fields to the al-Doura oil refinery and
the Mussayab power plant. The oil in the pipeline was earmarked for
domestic use.

To maintain domestic supplies, the official said exports from
the southern oil fields will be reduced by 80,000 barrels a day in
order to make up for the shortage from the northern oil fields.

There have been many attacks on pipelines in the region,
complicating the American rebuilding effort in Iraq, which depends
on oil revenue.

Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator for Iraq, has said
the country is losing $7 million daily because of the closure of
the export pipeline to Turkey.

In September, the line reopened for three days for the first
time after the war. Three bomb blasts along the line forced its
closure.

Iraq is exporting an average of 1 million barrels of oil a day,
all of it coming from the southern oil fields.

In Tikrit, meanwhile, a 4-year-old Iraqi girl was killed
yesterday when a bomb exploded just outside the main U.S. Army
base. Her 12-year-old sister was critically wounded, U.S. officials
said.

U.S. officials said they believed the bomb was intended for two
U.S. Bradley armored vehicles that had passed down the same road
minutes before the blast.

In the southern city of Basra, an Iraqi doctor, Haidar al-Baaj,
was shot in the back of the head and killed as he was entering his
clinic, hospital officials said yesterday.

Al-Baaj, 48, was recently promoted to the post of director of
the Educational Hospital in Basra, the officials said.

The officials and members of al-Baaj’s family said he had been
threatened over the past two months for cooperating with
authorities of the U.S.-run coalition.

British military spokesman Capt. Hisham Halawi confirmed a
doctor was killed on Wednesday but did not provide further
details.

A total of 194 U.S. soldiers have been killed by bombings,
ambushes and other hostile incidents since President Bush declared
an end to major combat operations May 1.

Many have been killed by roadside bombs, which insurgents build
from explosives believed to come from Iraqi army depots looted
after the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime in April.

Brig. Gen. Robert Davis told reporters between 600,000 and 1
million tons of Iraqi munitions remain unaccounted for, though he
could not say how much of that had been used in attacks against U.S
troops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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