|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
A parked car bomb exploded at a popular outdoor market Saturday in a Shiite slum in Baghdad, killing at least 66 people and wounding dozens, authorities said. It was the bloodiest attack to hit Iraq since the death of terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The blast, which occurred around 10 a.m. when the Sadr City market was packed with shoppers, destroyed the stalls where food and clothes are peddled and sent up a plume of gray smoke. Flames shot out the windows of several scorched cars.
Ambulances rushed to the scene and carried the victims to hospitals, where men cradled crying babies as doctors bandaged them. Rasoul Zaboun, an official from the Imam Ali Hospital in Sadr City, said 66 people were killed and 87 wounded.
Police Col. Hassan Jaloob also said 22 shops and stalls were destroyed, along with 14 vehicles.
Angry residents swarmed around the wreckage, with several young men chanting as they rocked the burned out hulk of the car that apparently held the explosives.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack. But car bombings and suicide attacks against Shiite civilians have often been blamed on al-Qaida in Iraq, which al-Zarqawi led until he was killed in a U.S. airstrike June 7.
Al-Zarqawi's death has not brought a halt to the attacks. At least 631 Iraqi civilians and security forces were killed between June 8 and June 30, according to Associated Press figures. That includes 25 people killed Monday in a bicycle bombing in Baqouba.
The seven men who were arrested here last week on terror charges were shown Friday on undercover videotapes solemnly reciting oaths of loyalty to Al Qaeda, repeating the words that an F.B.I. informant had given them to say.
The tapes, played at a federal court hearing by prosecutors, did not provide any evidence that the men had the money or firepower to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and federal buildings in five cities, as they are accused of conspiring to do, or that they had any actual ties to Al Qaeda.
And while federal authorities described Mr. Batiste and the other defendants last week as "a radical Islamic group," neighbors say his religious teachings came from the Moorish Science Temple of America, a group founded in Illinois in the early 1900's that blends Christianity, Judaism and Islam with an emphasis on self-discipline through martial arts.
The group's headquarters was a 750-square-foot former convenience store with an old sofa in the back and no running water. People who live near the building, which had no windows or air-conditioning, say they would sometimes see Mr. Batiste and a dozen or so other men there in the evenings, either inside with the doors open or practicing martial arts in the backyard.
Others say that while the group — which called itself the Seas of David — read the Koran at times, Mr. Batiste's favorite text was Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.
At first, relatives and lawyers said, the defendants were intrigued by Mr. Batiste's religious teachings, which some of the men saw as an alternative to the drug-dealing streets in Liberty City, one of Miami's poorest neighborhoods. But by this past April, the lawyers said, some defendants had grown suspicious of Mr. Batiste and had left the group after he seemed to become more focused on raising money than on his religious teachings.
According to the indictment, the criminal investigation began last October, after Mr. Batiste began expressing ominous goals. He told someone who was traveling to Yemen that he wanted to raise an army to overthrow the United States government and needed help, one document says, "in locating foreign Islamic extremists to fund his mission."
The American military is investigating accusations that soldiers raped an Iraqi woman in her home and killed her and three family members, including a child, American officials said Friday.
The investigation is the fourth into suspected killings of unarmed Iraqis by American soldiers announced by the military in June. In May, it was disclosed that the military was conducting an inquiry into the deaths of 24 civilians in Haditha last November.
The alleged rape and killings took place March 12 in the vicinity of the volatile market town of Mahmudiya, an insurgent stronghold about 20 miles south of Baghdad. The killing of the family was originally reported by the military as due to "insurgent activity," American officials said.
A senior police official in Mahmudiya said in a telephone interview that he received a report of the killings in March. The victims were a woman, her child, her husband and the husband's brother, he said. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said a sheik from the family's tribe immediately reported the episode to the police.
The American investigation began June 24, one day after two soldiers "reported alleged coalition force involvement" in the deaths of the Iraqi civilians, the military said in a written statement. A preliminary inquiry conducted after that report determined that there was sufficient evidence to merit a criminal investigation, the military said.
In May, Hasbrouck Heights library director Michele Reutty refused to turn over circulation records to local police seeking a man who had allegedly made sexually threatening comments to a 12-year-old girl outside the library. Citing state law, Reutty told authorities they would need a subpoena before she could comply with their request.
Investigators secured subpoenas and eventually received the information they requested, but Reutty is now under fire from borough officials who decried her "blatant disregard" for law enforcement and accused her of putting the interests of the library above the interest of police.