Middle East News
At least 33 killed in fresh wave of Iraq violence (Roundup)
Oct 27, 2007, 14:04 GMT
Baghdad - At least 33 people were reported killed in a fresh wave of Iraq violence, authorities said Saturday.
Police sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa at least 16 al- Qaeda-affiliated militants were gunned down overnight during armed clashes between them and police forces in southern Samara, 118 kilometres north of Baghdad.
The militants belonged to The Islamic State of Iraq, an Iraq-based extremist group with strong links to the al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network.
'Two of the militants were Arabs, while one was Iranian. These were among the dead in the clashes,' said an official source who refused to be identified.
He added that the militants succeeded in controlling many areas in Moatassem, southern Samara, in addition to an energy station.
The source also said that neither the Iraqi nor US army interfered in the clashes.
At least eight people were killed and 13 wounded at noon when a bomb exploded south of Baghdad, a police source told the local Voices of Iraq news agency.
The bomb was hidden in a garbage bin near a restaurant in the Jisr Diyala area, the source said, adding that several policemen were among the wounded.
Police meanwhile told dpa that six Kurdish truck drivers were killed Saturday morning and six wounded when three bombs went off as their trucks passed south of Kirkuk, 250 kilometres north of Baghdad.
The trucks were carrying cement blocks to Iraqi and US army bases in the area. The trucks and their loads suffered considerable damage.
Kirkuk's police department also said that one policeman was killed and five were wounded when a bomb went off near a police patrol.
Similarly, another policeman was killed and six wounded in the town of Alexandria, 40 kilometres south of Baghdad, when a bomb went off near a police patrol, local authorities said.
In the area of Khalis in the suburbs of Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad, a Sunni cleric and mosque imam was shot dead by unknown militants Saturday, security sources told dpa.
The US military meanwhile announced a series of arrests, where in one incident a wanted militant and 14 suspects were captured during earlier military operations to disrupt al-Qaeda network in central and northern Iraq.
In a separate operation, the US forces said they captured a senior 'militia extremist,' belonging to the so-called Mahdi Army and killed two others from the same group during Saturday operations in the village of al-Fawaaliyah, northwest of Khalis.
They detained an additional 14 suspected criminals. The operation, according to the US military, was targeting a splinter group leader, who was not honouring Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's pledge to cease attacks. The detainee was also involved in weapons procurement, kidnapping operations and attacks against US forces inside Iraq.
'Intelligence indicates that this individual also has ties to an Iranian intelligence cell,' claimed the statement.
Al-Sadr had earlier frozen the activities of his group's paramilitary wing known as the Mahdi Army ahead of restructuring its ranks. However, some elements have reportedly broken ranks and continued operating.
Also in al-Fawaaliyah village, US forces said they discovered several automatic weapons, a sniper rifle, maps and ammunition magazines.
Separately, the US military said that a US soldier assigned to Multinational Division North was killed two days earlier after he was fired at while conducting operations in Salahaddin province, north of Baghdad.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur