Published April 24, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq – A string of car bombs rocked Baghdad on Monday, killing 10 people and injuring nearly 80, in an apparent campaign to discredit Iraq's new leadership. At least 15 other people were killed in bombings and shootings.
Police also discovered the bodies of 28 people in the capital and the northern city of Mosul. They included 15 police recruits from Ramadi who were kidnapped Sunday and slain by terrorists, police said.
The seven car bombs exploded over a five-hour period in six widely separated neighborhoods across the sprawling capital. The first blast occurred near the Health Ministry and killed five people, Lt. Col. Faleh al-Mohammedawi said.
Two hours later, bombs hidden in two cars exploded near Mustansiriya University, killing five others, including a 10-year-old boy, al-Mohammedawi said. Other blasts occurred in central Baghdad, the Karradah district, Mansour and the New Baghdad area in the east of the capital.
Al-Mohammedawi put the total number of injuries at nearly 80, most of them in the two fatal bombings.
The bodies of the 15 police recruits from Ramadi were found in a small truck on the western edge of the capital, al-Mohammedawi said. All showed signs of torture. Insurgents in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, have been warning fellow Sunnis against joining the police and army.
Three other bodies were found in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, including a university student who had been kidnapped earlier in the day, police said.
The other corpses were found in separate areas of Baghdad, police said,
The latest deaths brought to more than 70 the number of Iraqis reported killed in insurgency or sectarian-related violence since Jawad al-Maliki was formally tapped Saturday to head a national unity government. The United States believes a unity government of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds is essential to halting the country's slide to chaos.
Al-Maliki, a Shiite, has 30 days from April 22 to present his Cabinet to parliament for majority approval. A top Shiite official, Ridha Jawad Taqi, said he expected the lineup to be finalized within 15 days. Political parties met separately in Baghdad to discuss proposed Cabinet ministers.
In an interview Monday with CNN, al-Maliki said he would work toward "national reconciliation on the basis of national dialogue and common interests" among Iraq's rival ethnic and religious communities.
He also promised to "cleanse our society" of terrorism, combat corruption and disband militias controlled by political parties and integrate them into the armed forces and the police.
"I'm confident that the militias, and there are more than 11 militias, must be disarmed," al-Maliki said. "There's no difference between one militia and others."
Many Sunni Arabs believe that militia members have infiltrated the ranks of the police and army and have been responsible for kidnapping and killing Sunni civilians. U.S. and British officials have insisted that Cabinet members who have security responsibilities have no ties to militias.
Much of the attention has focused on the Shiite-run Interior Ministry, which controls police and paramilitary commandos widely distrusted by Sunnis. Shiite officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks are under way, said they expect Interior Minister Bayan Jabr to be replaced by Shiite independent Qassim Dawoud, who has no militia links.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has said Iraq's next government must decommission sectarian militias, terming them the "infrastructure for civil war."
In a statement Monday, a government agency said more than 5,600 Shiite families comprising near 34,000 people have fled their homes in mainly Sunni regions of Baghdad and central Iraq because of violence.
The list appeared to be the number of families who had fled to date, but did not say when the movements began. But reports of large numbers of Shiites leaving Sunni regions began amid increased sectarian violence sparked by a Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad.
The families fled from the mainly Sunni district of Abu Ghraib in Baghdad; cities north and west of the capital, including Baqouba, Beiji, Taji, and Samarra; and mixed districts south of Baghdad in a region known as the "triangle of death" for their frequent insurgent attacks.