Iraq Attacks Kill 10; Hostage Released

Roadside bombs and other attacks Friday killed 10 Iraqis and wounded 26 people, including a U.S. soldier riding through Baghdad in a minesweeper.

Kidnappers, meanwhile, released a United Arab Emirates diplomat who was abducted this week in Baghdad, his brother told The Associated Press.

On Saturday, legislators plan to swear in Iraq's new prime minister and Cabinet, completing a democratic transition that began in December with parliamentary elections. Nouri al-Maliki said Friday he had failed to reach a deal with coalition partners on naming defense or interior ministers, but he still would inaugurate his Cabinet with temporary appointees in those posts.

A main goal of the new government will be to restore security in Iraq, where sectarian violence and attacks by insurgents and militias have killed many people and led thousands of families to flee their homes.

The Bush administration hopes that full-scale democracy can unite Iraq's complex mix of Shiites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds, reduce public support for insurgent groups and militias, and make it possible to begin withdrawing U.S. troops sometime this year.

The No. 2-ranking U.S. general said the key to reducing American casualties is getting a government that can revive the economy and "take the angry young men off the street, to give them an alternative" to violence.

"I honestly believe that as this government begins work on the policies that will be required to put people to work and make use of the vast resources of Iraq that you're going to see a decrease in violence," Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, commander of Multi-National Corps Iraq, told reporters.

CountryWatch: Iraq

In a speech in Baghdad on Thursday night, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad praised Iraq's outgoing prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, and said the inauguration will be a "historic step in Iraq's transition from dictatorship to democracy."

In Friday's worst violence, a gunbattle between suspected insurgents and Iraqi police killed five civilians and wounded eight in Jihad, a neighborhood of western Baghdad, said police Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq. He said U.S. forces helped police seal off the area after the fighting.

Since the war began in 2003, roadside bombs have been the deadliest form of attack by insurgents, killing thousands of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers and police, often by hitting their convoys and patrols in cities such as Baghdad.

On Friday, the day of worship in mostly Muslim Iraq, one such hidden bomb hit a U.S. convoy in Dora, a mixed Sunni-Shiite-Christian area and one of the city's most violent districts.

The blast heavily damaged the armored vehicle used by explosive ordnance disposal teams to search for mines, which often are buried in the dirt beside roads or in piles of garbage. One U.S. soldier was wounded, the U.S. command said.

Two other roadside bombs targeted Iraqi forces in the capital.

One exploded outside the home of a police officer in east Baghdad in an apparent assassination attempt, said police Lt. Ali Abbas. The officer was on patrol, but the explosion severely wounded his wife and two children, Abbas said.

Insurgents often conduct such attacks in an effort to discourage Iraqis from joining police forces or the Iraq army.

Another roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi army patrol in western Baghdad, wounding three soldiers, said Abdul-Razzaq.

Police also found the bullet-ridden bodies of four Iraqis who had been kidnapped and tortured by some of the many death squads that are active in the capital. One of the victims was an elementary school teacher. Two of the four bodies were found in Dora. Another beheaded, handcuffed body was found in Numaniya, 80 miles southwest of Baghdad, said Hadi al-Itabi, an official at a morgue in nearby Kut.

The 28-year-old envoy from the United Arab Emirates, Naji Rashid al-Nuaimi, was seized Tuesday night in Baghdad by gunmen who shot and wounded his Sudanese driver.

His brother, Mohammed al-Nuaimi, said the family had been told by the government that he was free, but they did not know how his release had come about.

"The officials just told us that he was released and he was on his way to the embassy," al-Nuaimi said in a phone call from his home in Dibba, in the southern Emirates.

He said his brother would be flying back to the Emirates later Friday.

In other violence:

• Gunmen in a minibus opened fire on another one in the Abu Ghraib area just outside Baghdad, wounding 11 passengers, said police 1st Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi.

_Arsonists burned more than 30 shops in a market in Diwaniyah, a Shiite area 80 miles south of Baghdad, said police Maj. Nabil al-Ghazal. No one hurt and the motive was not immediately known, he said.

On Thursday, four U.S. soldiers and their Iraqi interpreter were killed by a roadside bomb. At least 126 U.S. troops have died in the past month and a half, marking the deadliest period since last fall — even as Iraq's U.S.-trained security forces have been taking more of the lead role in fighting the insurgency.

Al-Maliki, a Shiite, plans to present his new Cabinet to parliament Saturday. The legislators then will swear in al-Maliki and the ministers, completing a process that began with December's parliamentary election.

Al-Maliki's two most important Cabinet selections are the defense and interior ministers. Sunni Arabs want the Defense Ministry, which runs the army, while the Shiites want the Interior Ministry, which controls the police.

He said Friday after meeting with officials of other political coalitions and parties that no compromises on those posts had been reached, and he would present his Cabinet Saturday for approval to the 275-member parliament — known as the council of representatives.

"Both will be acting (temporary) ministers until we will choose the best ministers for those posts," al-Maliki said.

It has been suggested that al-Maliki might appoint himself to head the two ministries until all parties can agree, but that could cause discord in the new government.