Suicide bomber kills 7 at Iraqi wedding
* 29, including two journalists, killed in various clashes
BAGHDAD: Seven guests celebrating the wedding of an Iraqi policeman were killed on Thursday by a suicide bomber in the northern town of Tal Afar, police said.
The bomber tried to force his way into the party and detonated a suicide vest when some of the guests blocked his path, police said. Four people were wounded in the attack. It was not clear how many casualties, if any, were police, or if the bride or groom were among those hurt.
Also a fierce battle between US troops and Shiite militants killed 29 people in Baghdad including two Iraqis working for foreign media, while another four people died elsewhere, officials said. The fighting broke out early in the day after a barrage of mortar shells slammed into the eastern Al Amin neighbourhood of Baghdad, security officials said, adding that shortly afterwards the US forces clashed with Mahdi Army militants. Baghdad hospitals medics said they had received 13 bodies from the battle, while security officials said the toll could be higher.
An Iraqi photographer and his driver working for Reuters were among the dead, witnesses and the company said. They were killed when a rocket or shell hit a minibus carrying wounded Iraqis from the neighbourhood, which they were filming. Witnesses claimed a US helicopter had fired the missile, although a Reuters statement said that a mortar shell by militants might be the cause.
In the central Shiite shrine city of Karabala, armed men gunned down four members of a family, a police officer said, adding that two more people were wounded when gunmen riddled the car with bullets. Meanwhile, the US military said it had captured two Al Qaeda militants suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of three American soldiers in May.
Troops captured the pair in an air and ground assault south of Baghdad on Wednesday in the Sunni town of Jurf Al Sakhr.
One soldier’s body was found floating in the Euphrates River a few days later, but the military is still searching the other two soldiers. Separately, a pre-dawn US air strike killed five militants trying to plant a roadside bomb in the central city of Diwaniyah, the military said. A local police officer also reported clashes between Mahdi Army militants and US forces in the city in which three militants were killed.
Since last year Diwaniyah, a flashpoint for rival Shiite factions battling for supremacy in the region, has regularly witnessed severe clashes between Shiite militiamen and US and Iraqi security forces. agencies