Violence kills 11 in Iraq as government prepares new security measures

Monday, September 18th 2006, 5:26 am
By: News On 6

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Bombers and gunmen killed at least 31 people and injured dozens across Iraq on Monday as the government prepared to further tighten security ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, when violence traditionally spikes in the country.

Meanwhile, tribes in one of Iraq's most volatile provinces have joined together to fight the insurgency in their region, calling on the government and the U.S.-led military coalition to give them weapons, a prominent tribal leader said.

Tribal leaders and clerics in Ramadi, the capital of violent Anbar province, met last week and have set up a force of about 20,000 men ``ready to purge the city of these infidels,'' Sheik Fassal al-Guood, a prominent tribal leader from Ramadi, told The Associated Press.

``People are fed up with the acts of those criminals who take Islam as a cover for their crimes,'' he said. ``The situation in the province is unbearable, the city is abandoned, most of the families have fled the city and all services are poor.''

Two suicide car bombers attacked a police station in Ramadi on Monday, killing at least two police officers and injuring 26 people, the Interior Ministry said. U.S.-led coalition forces said they were looking into the report.

Elsewhere, a suicide bomber killed at least 20 people and wounded 17 others in an open-air market in the northwestern city of Tal Afar, police chief Brig. Sabah Hamidi said. There were no Iraqi or U.S.-led security forces in the area at the time, he said.

Three Iraqi army soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb that targeted their patrol in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of the capital. A gunman on a motorcycle killed a woman and a group attacked a family in their home, killing two brothers.

In Muqdadiyah to the northeast, an armed group killed two civilians.

In southern Basra, police found the body of Lt. Col. Fawzi Abdul Karim al-Mousawi, chief of the city's anti-terrorism department. Al-Mousawi had been kidnapped late Sunday in front of his house by a group of armed men in two cars. He had been handcuffed and shot seven times.

Gunmen also killed a former member of the defunct Baath Party in Hillah, south of Baghdad.

In the capital, police found the bodies of three men who had been bound, blindfolded and shot in the head.

The violence came as the government was preparing to announce new security measures for Baghdad ahead of Ramadan, which is expected to start on Sept. 24.

Mohammed al-Askari, a Defense Ministry spokesman, told the AP the measures would be adopted two or three days before the holy month begins to ``protect citizens from terrorists attacks during this month.''

Security measures could include a series of trenches and berms the government has said it plans to help secure Baghdad. As part of the plan, vehicle and pedestrian traffic would be restricted to just 28 entry points with manned checkpoints. The berms and trenches would funnel vehicle traffic to those 28 checkpoints.

In another development Monday, the Iraqi army's 4th division came under Iraqi control in central Salahuddin province, the government said.

It was the second of Iraq's 10 divisions to come under direct Iraqi control since Sept. 7, when coalition forces handed over control of Iraq's armed forces command to the government.

``Today, the operational responsibility was handed over to the Iraqi army's 4th division in Salahuddin province. And by the end of next October, about one-third of the Iraqi security forces will be under Iraqi control,'' said government spokesman Ali al-Dabagh.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabagh said Iraqi forces will take over security responsibility for southern Dhi Qar province Thursday, making it the second of Iraq's 18 provinces to be handed over by the coalition. British troops handed over control of southern Muthana province in July.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's military spokesman said Iraq's military and security forces had grown to 302,200. Brig. Qassim al-Mussawi said they included 172,100 Interior Ministry forces, and 130,100 soldiers and other troops under the control of the Defense Ministry.