BAGHDAD - Suspected al-Qaida bombers stepped up attacks on key transportation arteries, striking a bridge north of the capital Monday, a day after shutting the superhighway south of Baghdad with a huge explosion that collapsed an overpass and killed three U.S. soldiers.
The latest attack, a parked truck bomb, blew apart the bridge that carries traffic over the Diyala River in Baqouba, police said. There were no casualties, but motorists and truckers now must use a road that runs through al-Qaida-controlled territory to reach important nearby cities.
Baqouba is the capital of Diyala province, which is swarming with al-Qaida fighters. Those militants were driven out of Baghdad by the four-month-old U.S. security operation and out of Anbar province west of the capital by Sunni tribesmen who rose up against the terrorist group.
Earlier this month, a bomb heavily damaged the Sarhat Bridge, a key crossing 90 miles north of the capital on a major road connecting Baghdad with Irbil, Sulaimaniya and other Kurdish cities.
In March and April, three of Baghdad's 13 bridges over the Tigris River were bombed. The attacks were blamed on Sunni insurgent or al-Qaida attempts to divide the city's predominantly Shiite east bank from the mostly Sunni western side of the river.