Iraqi violence unabated with at least 24 killed around the country

Tuesday, September 12th 2006, 8:40 am
By: News On 6

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ A parked car bomb detonated Tuesday in Baghdad's upscale Mansour neighborhood, killing at least six people and wounding 18 others as violence remained unabated around Iraq.

Bombings, mortar attacks and shootings overnight and on Tuesday left at least 24 people dead and dozens wounded around Iraq, police and military officials said.

In Middadiyah, a town just outside the city of Baqouba northeast of the capital, a roadside bomb next to a market killed at least four people and wounded 24 others, police said.

In the same area late Monday, gunmen assaulted a Shiite mosque with mortars and assault rifles, killing seven people and wounding three.

In northern Mosul, gunmen attacked and killed four unidentified Kurds and injured another, said Ahmed Abdul-Aziz, a doctor at of Jumhouri Hospital.

A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in eastern Baghdad's Zaiyouna neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, wounding three police officers and a civilian, police said.

Gunmen killed police brigadier Ziad Ramzi in central Mosul city. The officer was in plain clothes when he was shot, said Nineveh police brigadier Saeid Ahmeed.

Two armed men were killed and four Iraqi soldiers were injured in a firefight between Iraqi forces and gunmen in the Qadisiyah area in eastern Rawah, 175 miles northwest of Baghdad, the Iraqi military said.

The mosque attack occurred Monday at 9 p.m. in the town on Bani Saad just south of Baqouba, located 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, the press office of the Diyala provincial police said.

Bani Saad is 12 miles south of Baqouba, and police said the attack began when six mortar rounds were fired at the Huseiniyat Bani Saad mosque, followed by an assault. The gunmen then planted explosives around the mosque and detonated them, damaging the structure, police said. No other details were available.

The attack occurred in a mixed but volatile region that in recent months has seen horrific acts of sectarian violence. Jordanian born-terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Sunni extremist who long sought to start a sectarian war in Iraq, was killed just outside Baqouba in an American airstrike on June 7.

The attacks came a day after at least 26 people died and five bodies turned up in city streets and rivers.

Meanwhile deputies argued over a federalism bill that Sunni Arabs fear will split the country into three distinct sectarian and ethnic cantons.

The leader of the largest Sunni Arab group in parliament, Adnan al-Dulaimi, said Monday that political parties opposed to a federalism bill were trying to work together to prevent it from being implemented without changes.

One of the amendments Sunnis are seeking would prevent the weakening of Iraq's central government in favor of powerful autonomous regions. Both the north and south are rich in oil, and Sunnis fear they will end up squeezed into Baghdad and Iraq's western provinces, which have no natural resources.

The federalism bill submitted to parliament last week by the largest Shiite bloc, the United Iraqi Alliance, calls for a three-part federation. It would create a separate autonomous state in the predominantly Shiite south _ much like the zone run by Kurds in the north.

Sunni Arabs fear this will split Iraq apart and fuel sectarian bloodshed.

Al-Dulaimi's bloc, along with a smaller Sunni Arab group, two Shiite groupings, and a secular party forced parliament on Sunday to postpone debate on the bill for the second time.

Al-Dulaimi said parliament should first meet a key Sunni Arab demand to set up a committee to amend the constitution, approved by referendum last October, before discussing any other legislation relating to Iraq's new charter.

Objections from Sunni Arabs and an apparent split among Shiites led leaders to delay the debate until Sept. 19. A previous attempt to discuss the bill Thursday set off acrimonious squabbling that led parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani to recess that session.

Although the idea of federalism is enshrined in the new Iraqi constitution, and there is already an autonomous Kurdish region in the north, special legislation and a referendum would be needed to turn Iraq into a full federation.