Bombs kill dozens of Iraqi civilians


BAGHDAD, Iraq -- As Iraqi politicians continued to bicker over who should lead key security ministries, violence claimed the lives of at least 44 Iraqis across the country yesterday.

In the worst incident, a car bomb exploded at a popular market in Husseiniya, about 20 miles north of Baghdad, killing 24 people and injuring 64 others, according to hospital officials.

In Hillah, about 60 miles south of the capital, a car bomb killed seven civilians and wounded 30 others, police said. Earlier in the day in Baghdad, mortars hit the Interior Ministry building, killing two female employees and injuring four police officers.

One witness, who was inside waiting for the elevators at the ministry when the attack happened, said the building "trembled violently" when the mortars hit. Guards evacuated panicked employees as smoke billowed from the third floor, he said.

Elsewhere in the capital, a bomb exploded near a bakery in the eastern part of the city, killing nine civilians and injuring 10 others.

Earlier in the day, a roadside bomb killed one and wounded three others. In the Shula neighborhood of Baghdad, gunmen entered a Sunni Muslim mosque, killing a sheik in front of his family. In Basra, gunmen killed a motorist and injured his son.

Authorities also recovered three bodies from three different neighborhoods, all handcuffed, blindfolded and showing signs of torture.

Iraqi security forces raided a dormitory on the campus of Baghdad Technical University where cells of students were building roadside bombs and planning attacks against Iraqi soldiers and police, according to a statement from the U.S. military. The Iraqi forces also raided an apartment building near campus, detaining seven people, including four students.

According to a statement from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office, Iraqi security forces on Monday captured Ahmad Hussein Dabash Samir Batawi in Baghdad. Batawi, a suspected insurgent leader, confessed to beheading hundreds of Iraqis, according to the statement.

In the northern city of Mosul, a U.S. soldier from 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team was shot and killed Monday, according to the U.S. military. And a U.S. soldier with the multinational forces in Baghdad was killed yesterday when an improvised explosive device detonated southeast of the capital.

The U.S. military also announced the release of 204 male detainees yesterday after a review by Iraqi and American officials. Since its establishment in August 2004, the Combined Review and Release Board has recommended releasing 19,600 detainees after reviewing more than 39,000 cases.

Louise Roug writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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