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U.S. says caught Iraq car bombers blamed for 900 dead
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. forces captured two leaders of a major car bomb cell responsible for attacks that killed around 900 Iraqis, mostly in the Shi'ite district of Sadr City in Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.
It said in two separate statements that the two men were caught during operations in Adhamiya, a mainly Sunni Arab area in northern Baghdad, on March 21.
"It is estimated that since November, the car bombs from this cell have killed approximately 900 innocent Iraqi citizens," one of the statements said.
It said another 1,950 had been wounded.
U.S. and Iraqi forces are engaged in a major security crackdown in Baghdad aimed at stopping sectarian violence that has been killing hundreds of people a week in recent months.
American commanders have said the crackdown has succeeded in substantially reducing the number of people killed by sectarian death squads, but car bombs and other bombings have remained a problem and U.S. forces have stepped up efforts to disrupt insurgent cells responsible for them.
U.S. military spokesman Major Steven Lamb said the two men were part of the same cell but he had no information on whether they were linked to al Qaeda or another insurgent group.
The Iraqi government and American commanders say al Qaeda and other Sunni Arab insurgent groups are responsible for most of the major car bomb attacks in Baghdad.
The first of the two suspects was captured when U.S. forces noticed his vehicle weaving in and out of traffic and his driver ignored signals to stop.
The second was detained around seven hours later after U.S. forces received "actionable intelligence" that led them to stop a passing vehicle, the statement said.
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