BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 27, 2006 -- Just two days after Iraq's prime minister stood at the White House with President Bush as he announced the redeployment of thousands of American troops to Baghdad, a horrific attack there demonstrated just how difficult it is to make the capital city secure.
A series of rockets and mortars landed in a busy shopping district in Karrada today, as a car bomb went off outside a gas station nearby, shooting fireballs into the street.
With 31 dead and more than 150 injured during the attack, another neighborhood in this city was plunged into sectarian conflict. Karrada has a mix of Shiite Muslims and Christians, and police say the rockets came from a Sunni Muslim suburb to the south.
"Throughout Iraq, the density of deaths for civilians is occurring right here in Baghdad," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a U.S. military spokesman, said.
Both the United States and the Iraqi government are desperate to stop sectarian attacks, but others in the region doubt that more U.S. troops will help.
"Some Iraqis see the presence of Americans as the actual problem," Iraqi parliament member Bassin Sharif said.
And some U.S military analysts wonder if bringing 5,000 additional troops into a city of 5 million people will suffice.
"It will probably take a lot more troops than we are currently prepared to send into that area, because clearly what must happen is we must protect the people and support them," said retired Gen. Jack Keane, a former acting chief of staff. "And we have to do that block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood."
Bringing more U.S. troops into Baghdad is a risky strategy, because if it doesn't work the city is in danger of breaking apart.