At Least Twenty Killed, 44 Injured in Scattered Violence Around Iraq

At least 20 people were killed and more than double that number injured Sunday in scattered violence around Iraq, including a mortar attack on the Health Ministry followed by a car bombing targeting a police patrol.

Police also discovered another 13 bodies, the apparent victims of sectarian death squads.

The Health Ministry in northern Baghdad was hit by two mortar shells at 8:40 a.m., which slammed into the building and its garden, seriously injuring three civilians, police Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said. The attackers were not identified.


As police patrolled the area later, a roadside bomb exploded killing four policemen and wounded four more, while killing two civilians and injuring two others, police said.

In eastern Baghdad a car bomb targeting another police patrol killed five people, and wounded 17.

The bomb was detonated in a parked car as the patrol went by at 10:15 a.m. Three policemen was among the dead, while seven were injured, police Lt. Bilal Ali said.

An Iraqi soldier died in east Baghdad in a morning attack, police said. The soldier was gunned down in his car on his way to report to his unit at 7:30 a.m.

A bomb in a parked car blew up next to an army patrol in northern Baghdad later, killing two other Iraqi soldiers and wounding two passers-by.

Later in the day a roadside bomb blew up near a restaurant in the Al-Mansour district of the capital, injuring three civilians.

Two more Iraqi soldiers were killed and another two injured when a suicide car bomber slammed into a checkpoint in Tal Afar, 260 miles northwest of Baghdad. The soldiers opened fire on the car as it sped toward the checkpoint but were unable to prevent the detonation, police said.

In Mosul, some 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, a bomb blast wounded two civilians, police said.

One more person was killed and five others wounded in the town of Al-Musayyab south of Baghdad in the Babil province when their house was hit with a mortar shell, police said.

Unidentified assailants at noon gunned down three civilians in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, then sped away in their car, police said.

Insurgents attacked a convoy of two vehicles in the Diwaniyah area south of Baghdad, seriously damaging one with a roadside bomb and wounding its four occupants. Witnesses said the other vehicle took the injured men away from the scene. A group of children then threw stones at the burning vehicle.

Diwaniyah Police 1st Lt. Rayed Jebur said those injured were thought to be foreign contractors but had no further details.

In two separate operations near Baqouba, the Iraqi army said it killed one insurgent and wounded three, while capturing a total of 19 included the wounded men.

Police also found more apparent victims of sectarian death squads in the capital, discovering five bodies bearing signs of torture, blindfolded with their hands and legs bound, in eastern Baghdad, police said. In a northeastern part of the capital, police said they found four more bodies of men aged 30 to 35, riddled with bullets.

Another four corpses bearing signs of torture were found in the town of Laylan, about 150 miles north of Baghdad.

Baghdad police on Sunday raised the confirmed casualty toll in the deadly bombing of a kerosene truck on a crowded street Saturday to 38 killed and 42 injured.

A Sunni group claiming responsibility for the attack in Baghdad's Sadr City, a sprawling Shiite slum, said it was in revenge for a Friday attack by a suspected Shiite death squad on Sunni Arab homes and mosques that killed four people in the capital.

In the wake of the ongoing sectarian violence, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called on Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis on Sunday to use the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to put aside their differences.

"Iraq is living in a very sensitive and historic period, either we live as loving brothers side by side and undivided by sectarianism or Iraq will shift into an area for settling accounts of political parties," he said in a statement.

Saturday night, a senior police officer was attacked in Tikrit after having his Ramadan fast-breaking dinner.

Police Col. Ismaiel Chehayyan was at a friend's house in Tikrit city center when unknown assailants stormed the building, killing him and wounding the host, police said.

His body lay Sunday in the Tikrit morgue, where Associated Press Television News footage showed medics going about the macabre task of identifying the severed heads of 10 Iraqi soldiers that were tossed into a crowded market in nearby Beiji the day before by unidentified gunmen.