Security forces stormed the provincial council building in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit on March 29 after an hours-long shootout with gunmen that left 41 dead and 95 wounded. The gunmen, wearing military uniforms and suicide vests, swarmed into the council building immediately after a suicide bomber detonated his payload and cleared the way. A car bomb exploded shortly afterwards as police reinforcements were arriving. Those who did not die as a result of explosions were murdered, execution-style, by the gunmen, authorities said. A curfew was imposed in Tikrit, capital of the Sunni-majority Salaheddin province, which has long been a bastion of the insurgency.
In mid-January, a suicide bomber blew himself up and killed 50 people in a crowd waiting outside a police recruitment center in Tikrit. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the new attack, but officials said it bore the hallmark of Iraq’s al-Qaeda affiliate. (The Independent, March 31; Middle East Online, March 29)