At Least 15 Dead in Scattered Iraq Violence

At least 15 people were killed in attacks around Iraq on Friday, including the commander of a battalion of special Interior Ministry police and six women and two girls who were shot south of Baghdad.

The women and girls were killed at 8 a.m. by unidentified gunmen on the western outskirts of Suwayrah, which is 25 miles south of Baghdad, police Lt. Mohammed al-Shammari said. Two other girls were kidnapped al-Shammari said.

No other information was immediately available.

In Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, a bomb planted in the Interior Ministry police headquarters building killed Col. Salam al-Maamouri, commander of the Scorpion police battalion, and his aide, while injuring seven others, police Lt. Osama Ahmed said.

Police were investigating whether the bomb could have been planted by a policeman from the brigade, Ahmed said.

Ahmed said the bomb appeared to have been planted under the commander's chair or desk, by someone who evaded requirements that vehicles and officers entering the base be searched.

In Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, a father and his two sons were killed by unknown gunmen gunned in the city's downtown al-Tahrir, provincial police said.

Another two people were killed and one injured when unknown assailants opened fire on them on the eastern outskirts of Baqouba, police said.

Elsewhere, the bodies of two guards assigned to protect a sewage handling facility were found in a market in Suwayrah, said Hadi al-Itabi, an official at the morgue in Kut, where the bodies were taken.