Fri, Jan 08, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Multiple bombings destroy homes of four Ramadi police

AFP , BAGHDAD AND RAMADI, IRAQ

Coordinated bombings early yesterday shattered the homes of four police officers in the western Iraqi town of Heet, killing seven people including the town’s anti-terror chief, an official said.

Six people were wounded in the blasts.

Attackers planted explosives around the bedrooms of the policemen in the town, 60km west of the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi, said Lieutenant Colonel Fadhil Nimrawi, the head of the town’s emergency response unit.

“At 3am, men planted bombs around the bedrooms of four houses belonging to members of the police force, including Major Walid al-Heeti, the head of Heet’s anti-terror department,” he said. “The bombs killed seven people, including the anti-terror chief, and wounded six others, including women and children from the four families.”

The dead also included Heeti’s wife and mother, a child, and three other police officers, Nimrawi said.

The four houses were in different neighborhoods across the center of Heet and no vehicles are being allowed in or out of the town as part of ramped up security.

Nimrawi said several people had been arrested in connection with the attack, but declined to specify how many.

Heeti was one of the leaders of a campaign against al-Qaeda in mostly Sunni Anbar, which helped dramatically reduce the terror network’s presence in the province, Iraq’s biggest.

Several cities in Anbar were used as insurgent bases in the aftermath of the US-led invasion of 2003.

Since 2006, however, local Sunni tribes have sided with the US military and Iraqi authorities. Daily violence has dropped dramatically because al-Qaeda fighters have been ejected from the region.

Yesterday’s attacks come a month after the head of Salaheddin Province’s anti-terror squad and at least three of his bodyguards were among five people killed by a suicide bomber in Tikrit, the predominantly Sunni hometown of executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

IRAN OIL ROW

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was in Baghdad yesterday for talks with Iraqi leaders over bilateral ties, officials said, just weeks after a dispute between the two countries over their border.

Mottaki, who last visited Iraq in September, was holding a press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari and was also due to meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi officials said.

Iranian TV said Mottaki was heading a large delegation on the visit.

Iran has often been accused by US military leaders, whose forces still have a large presence in Iraq, of funding and training Shiite militant groups and undermining security in the conflict-torn country.

Mottaki’s latest visit comes just weeks after Iran forces took over an oil well along the two countries’ disputed border, prompting a stand-off that drove up international crude prices.

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