Thu, Jun 15, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Baghdad locked down in latest security operation

AP , BAGHDAD

Iraqi troops were out in force and cars were backed up at checkpoints yesterday in Baghdad as a deadly car bomb killed four people and clashes broke out in two Sunni Arab strongholds shortly after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched a major security crackdown aimed at ending the violence that has devastated the capital.

Tens of thousands of Iraq police and soldiers were deployed throughout the capital of six million people, searching cars and securing roads into and out of Baghdad.

Despite the stepped up security measures, a parked car bomb struck the northern district of Qahira yesterday morning, killing at least four civilians and wounding six, police Lieutenant Ali Mitaab said.

Clashes broke out in the northern Sunni district of Azamiyah shortly before noon, with heavy exchanges of gunfire sending residents scurrying for cover. The clashes took place near the Grand Imam Abu Hanifa mosque, the holiest Sunni Muslim shrine in Iraq. There were reports of casualties.

Most stores were closed in Azamiyah and mostly Sunni Dora, two strongholds of the insurgency.

Entire streets in Dora, southern Baghdad, were deserted, including al-Moalemeem road, dubbed "Death Road" by residents because of the frequent clashes there between Sunni insurgents and security forces and sectarian killings.

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