Suicide bombing, clashes, claim 20 lives in Iraq
* Second top Iraqi official shot dead in Baghdad in two days
* Kurdish cleric assassinated in fresh wave of violence
BAGHDAD: Twenty people were killed and several others were injured in a car explosion and clashes between the Mehdi Army and US forces. Gunmen killed a senior Iraqi civil servant and university professor in a new spate of assassination on Sunday.
Twelve Iraqis were killed and 13 were wounded when a car bomb exploded near a US-coalition base in Baghdad on Sunday, soon after insurgents assassinated a second senior Iraqi official in 24 hours.
”Initial reports indicate that 12 Iraqis were killed, including four police officers, and 13 Iraqis were wounded, including one police officer, when a suspected car bomb detonated near an Iraqi police patrol,” said a US military spokeswoman, noting, “It was near a coalition base in southeast Baghdad. Two police cars and eight civilian cars were also destroyed in the blast.”
In a deadly morning, Kamal Jarrah, the director of cultural relations at the Iraqi Culture Ministry, was gunned down in front of his home in the west of Baghdad as he left for work, an official at the ministry said.
“Unknown attackers opened fire on Kamal Jarrah in front of his house in the Ghazalia quarter, killing him immediately,” the ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
In further unrest overnight six Iraqis, at least two of them members of Moqtada Sadr’s Mehdi Army, died in clashes with the US army in the Baghdad, said family members and medics.
The fighting in poverty-stricken Sadr City claimed the lives of two Mehdi Army members, family members said at Baghdad morgue. Another four dead were identified as civilians, doctors said, but it was impossible to confirm if they were from the Mehdi Army. The US military was not immediately available for comment.
Elsewhere, a locally prominent Kurdish cleric was killed in Baghdad when gunmen opened fire while he was visiting his neighbours, police said on Sunday. Iyad Khorshid, a Sunni preacher, was killed instantly in the Saturday night attack, according to police Col Sarhat Qadir.
Col Qadir said a policeman was also killed in a separate incident when two attackers broke into his house and shot him dead in front of his family. The victim was a member of the city council during the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Insurgents have launched a campaign to murder police, government officials and other prominent people in the run-up to the transfer of sovereignty June 30. For the first time, attackers on Sunday hit Saddam’s former main palace in Baghdad, now used by the US-coalition, but no casualties were immediately reported. agencies