Middle East News
Explosion in Baghdad kills two, violence elsewhere (Roundup)
Oct 22, 2007, 14:47 GMT
Baghdad - Two civilians were killed and 13 injured Monday when an explosive charge detonated near a commuter bus in Baghdad's al-Karada district, police reports said without giving further details.
Minutes before the explosion, a US patrol was seen passing the area. It was unclear whether the explosion was meant to target the US forces instead. The roads around the blast scene were sealed off.
Meanwhile, a US soldier was killed and three others were injured in an armed attack on their patrol in the north-western Anbar province early Monday, a police source told Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency.
Two explosive charges detonated and several missiles were fired at the US patrol in northern al-Rutba city in Anbar.
Two military vehicles were destroyed in the same attack. US forces later cordoned off the scene and arrested five suspects.
In another reported incidence of violence, seven people were killed and 14 wounded in armed clashes in Karbala a day earlier, a spokesman for the city's health department told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa. The bodies of those killed were brought overnight and Monday morning to several hospitals across the city.
The clashes took place between police and militants in al-Askary and al-Amel, two suburbs of the Shiite holy city. Army and police forces surrounded the conflict area, witnesses said.
According to pan-Arab broadcaster al-Arabiya, the militants belong to the Mahdi Army, a paramilitary wing to the Sadr movement commanded by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Al-Sadr had recently frozen the militia ahead of moves to restructure it. However, some factions from inside the army had refused to oblige.
Separately, the Iraqi National Accord movement led by former premier Iyyad Allawi said the movement had 'cleansed' Baghdad's al-Fadl district of al-Qaeda in Iraq elements during a recent operation.
In a statement, cited by VOI, the movement said their 'fighters' had killed and wounded many al-Qaeda-affiliated militants.
At least 46 people were killed and 30 injured in clashes between the movement and militants, including seven from the National Accord. At least 20 houses in addition to mosques and shops in the area were damaged in the clashes, according to a statement.
The fighters of the National Accord allegedly discovered Iranian- marked weaponry in al-Fadl district.
The Iraqi National Accord movement is a secular group and a member of a government coalition known as the Iraqi National List, with 25 seats in Iraq's Council of Representatives.
Meanwhile, the US army in Iraq said Monday that its forces had detained two officials from the Mahdi Army a day earlier.
The officials 'are accused of conducting criminal activity.'
The two officials, one allegedly a commander of 'three extremist companies and a 50-member terrorist cell,' were captured in Baghdad. They are reportedly responsible for 'terrorizing' citizens in the areas of al-Habibiyah, al-Baladiyat and Baghdad al-Jadidah.
Police sources in Diwaniyah, 200 kilometres south of Baghdad, told VOI that another Mahdi Army leader, Abbas al-Mussawi, was arrested at dawn Monday along with his brother. Al-Mussawi sustained a gunshot wound during the arrest.
Another Mahdi Army leader, Kefah Abdullah Kazem, was also arrested in nearby Daghara, 18 kilometres north of Diwaniyah, on suspicion of targeting Babil police forces with a bomb.
Also detained was a senior leader of the Islamic State of Iraq group in Kirkuk province, 250 kilometres north of Baghdad. He is accused of carrying out attacks on Iraqi and multinational forces in the region.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur