Wed, Jan 17, 2007 - Page 7 News List

At least 55 dead after bomb blasts, shootings in Iraq

AP , BAGHDAD

A suicide car bomber slammed into an Iraqi army patrol in the northern city of Mosul, killing seven people and wounding 40 others, police said.

At least 55 people were killed in bombings and shootings or were found dead on Monday, and most of the attacks were outside Baghdad.

The violence came as Iraqi and US forces prepared a new military offensive to pacify the Iraqi capital by cleansing it of militiamen and other sectarian killers that threaten to divide the country.

The biggest bombing occurred during evening rush hour in the al-Arabi neighborhood of Mosul, some 360km northwest of Baghdad. Two Iraqi soldiers were among the dead, and some houses and shops were damaged by the blast, Ninevah police Brigadier Abdul Karim al-Jubouri said.

He said the army patrol had stopped near an office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, or KDP, which is headed by the president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani.

About two hours later, a policewoman was killed in a drive-by shooting, al-Jubouri said.

Also in Mosul, two gasoline black-market vendors were killed in a drive-by shooting, another police official said. The attackers tossed a leaflet saying they would punish anyone selling fuel on the black market, the official said on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

An off-duty policeman was also shot dead south of Mosul, a police official said.

Besides 25 people killed in violence on Monday, police said 30 bodies were found across the Iraqi capital, most with signs of torture.

At least three bombs went off across Baghdad, Iraqi officials said, including one in which a suicide attacker drove into an Iraqi army checkpoint and killed four soldiers. Another three soldiers were wounded, and the explosion set fire to two military vehicles.

A roadside bomb targeted a police car in southeastern Baghdad, killing three policemen and wounding two others, a police official said.

That attack occurred during morning rush hour near a gas station in the Rustomiyah neighborhood of Iraq's capital. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media.

A university administrator was abducted at gunpoint during an ambush on his car, and another roadside bomb injured two policemen and two civilians, police said.

In Numaniya, 128km southwest of Baghdad, an interpreter who works with American troops was shot dead on his way home from work, Kut police Lieutenant Mohammed al-Shamari said.

Also on Monday, Iraqi soldiers arrested 45 people and seized weapons and explosives in Mahmoudiyah south of Baghdad, an Iraqi army officer said.

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