Seven Sunni groups seek truce in Iraq
* 32 killed in violence
* Russia confirms death of 4 embassy employees
BAGHDAD: Seven Sunni Arab insurgent groups have contacted the government to declare their readiness to join in efforts at national reconciliation, a key Shia legislator said on Monday.
The seven lesser groups, most of them believed populated by former members or backers of Saddam Hussein’s government, military or security agencies, have said they want a truce, Hassan al-Suneid, a lawmaker and member of the political bureau of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa Party, told The Associated Press.
Al-Maliki was considering a possible meeting with leaders of the groups or contacts through intermediaries, al-Suneid said.
He identified only six of the seven organisations by name, listing them as: al-Ashreen Brigades, the Mohammed Army, Abtal al-Iraq (Heroes of Iraq), the 9th of April Group, al-Fatah Brigades, the Brigades of the General Command of the Armed Forces.
Al-Maliki unveiled his 24-point national reconciliation initiative on Sunday, offering amnesty to insurgents who renounce violence and have not committed terror attacks. Iraq’s Sunni vice president Tareq al-Hashemi said the plan was “not enough to attract” those fighting US-led forces in Iraq.
Meanwhile, 10 Sunni Arab students were kidnapped in Baghdad and at least 32 people killed across Iraq on Monday.
Moscow confirmed the killing of four of its Baghdad embassy employees following an Internet statement by their kidnappers, an Al Qaeda-led insurgent grouping, that they had been executed.
Five Iraqi army soldiers were killed when a car bomb exploded beside their patrol in Baghdad’s western Ameriyah neighbourhood, the Interior Ministry official said.
In the southern Saydiyah neighbourhood, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a police commando checkpoint, killing three commandos.
Also in the capital, gunmen attacked the convoy of senior Sunni Arab Member of Parliament Adnan al-Dulaimi, killing his bodyguard.
Elsewhere in Iraq, 23 others were killed in a series of shootings.
On Monday, Washington said a report suggesting sizeable cuts in US forces in Iraq by the end of 2007 was “one of the plans” being considered. Agencies