Mon, Jan 23, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Militants kill children of policeman in their home

VIOLENCE AND POLITICS Insurgents killed the four youngsters with grenades, while politicians jockeyed with each other for Iraq's national parliament seats


Insurgents launched roadside bomb blasts and rocket-propelled grenade attacks north of Baghdad early yesterday, at least nine people, including a policeman's four children.

The children, aged from six to 11 years, and their uncle died in the attack by a team of insurgents shortly after midnight on their home in Balad Ruz, 70km northeast of Baghdad, according to a spokesman from the Iraqi police Joint Coordination Center.

Their father, Abdul-Sattar Hussein, was unhurt in the attack, launched by insurgents firing rocket-propelled grenades at their home and wounding his wife, said the spokesman who declined to be identified further due to fears of reprisal attacks.

Four policemen were killed and nine wounded in a pre-dawn roadside bomb blast that targeted their patrol in Baqubah, 60km northeast of Baghdad, the same center said.

Iraq's violence raged in tandem with continued kidnapping sagas as footage was aired of the abducted son of the secretary of Iraq's defense minister.

No word has also been heard of a female US journalist taken hostage in Baghdad on Jan. 7 and threatened with being killed.

Iraq's electoral commission was set yesterday to start receiving appeals by political parties contesting results from last month's election, with both winners and losers complaining they should have won more seats.

The ensuing weeks are also expected to witness lengthy and complex negotiations to form a national unity government to rule the country for the next four years -- a process that observers say could take at least two months.

A number of political parties, including the conservative Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, which took the lion's share of seats in the Dec. 15 vote, are complaining over calculations used to distribute 45 seats allocated to parties on the basis of their overall performance.

The parliament's other 230 seats were allocated on a constituency basis in the country's 18 provinces with some parties also complaining about the count.

There are fears that the momentum from the elections could be lost during a lengthy negotiation period, especially one marked by increased bloodshed.

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