Anniversary of Saddam’s capture: 22 killed in Iraq violence
* 9 US soldiers among dead
* Planes bomb Fallujah
* Minister wants Saddam trial after polls
BAGHDAD: At least 22 people including nine US soldiers were killed and dozens were injured in violence across Iraq, signalling that coalition forces remain beset by a fierce insurgency on the first anniversary of toppled dictator Saddam Hussein’s capture.
At least seven Iraqis were killed and 19 wounded, many seriously, when a suicide car bomb exploded at a checkpoint outside the highly fortified Green Zone, hospital sources said.
The group of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the bombing in a statement posted on an Islamist website.
Two mortar rounds also landed in the frequently targeted Green Zone, which houses Iraq’s interim government and foreign embassies, including the US mission.
The attacks followed a weekend of bloody clashes in Fallujah, where fighting has flared after days of relative calm following a blistering assault on the rebel city last month. Interim President Ghazi al-Yawar blamed the continuing lawlessness on the decision by the former US-led occupation authorities to dismantle the country’s armed forces after toppling Saddam.
US warplanes pounded eastern Fallujah on Monday, according to a reporter embedded with the Marines. The strikes followed the killing of eight Marines at the weekend in the surrounding restive western Al-Anbar province.
A US soldier also died of his wounds on Saturday in Baghdad after his patrol was ambushed, the army said. In northern Baghdad, three US soldiers were wounded when their convoy was attacked by a suicide car bomb, the US army said, adding that an Iraqi was also wounded and two Humvees were badly damaged.
Iraqi police and National Guards repelled an insurgent assault on a police station just south of Baghdad, the US military said on Monday, and 72 suspected militants were rounded up in subsequent raids in the area. Two Iraqi National Guards were killed and five wounded during a gunfight with insurgents on Monday in Al-Dijel, north of Baghdad, Col Mohamed Kasim said. Insurgents attacked another Iraqi National Guard checkpoint in a dangerous area southwest of Baghdad on Monday, killing one guard and wounding two others.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari wants Saddam Hussein, captured by US forces a year ago, to stand trial within weeks after national elections on January 30. agencies