More than 40 Iraqis die as politicians meet

December 14, 2006|By Borzou Daragahi | Borzou Daragahi,LOS ANGELES TIMES

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Bombs, mortar rounds and shootings left more than 40 Iraqis dead yesterday as Iraqi politicians met to discuss a possible Cabinet shake-up in an attempt to improve the government's record on stemming violence.

The Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki faces domestic and international pressure to secure streets and provide services. Al-Maliki blames his government's shortcomings in part on the ministers appointed under pressure from his coalition partners. Talks between al-Maliki, Cabinet officials and political party leaders were under way yesterday to reshuffle the posts.

In yesterday's deadliest incident of sectarian violence, an explosives-packed car blew up in a crowded bus terminal in a mostly Shiite district of eastern Baghdad, killing 10 Iraqis and injuring 25 during the morning rush hour.

Apparent Sunni insurgents killed at least five civilians and injured 13 in two other explosions set off in New Baghdad, another mostly Shiite neighborhood of the capital.

Gunmen kidnapped a ranking adviser to the Shiite-dominated Ministry of Transportation in eastern Baghdad.

Suspected Shiite militants also struck at Sunnis. An Interior Ministry official reported the discovery of at least 21 unidentified bodies in and around the capital.

Mortar rounds struck a neighborhood of mostly Palestinian immigrants in eastern Baghdad, killing one person and injuring six. Mortars also struck a government building near the southern Iraq city of Hillah, killing at least one civilian and injuring two.

Borzou Daragahi writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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