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Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2006

Interior minister barely escapes roadside bomb

August 24, 2006

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— Iraq's interior minister narrowly escaped a roadside bomb blast Wednesday in a mainly Sunni part of the capital that U.S. officials had said had been virtually cleared of death squad cells.

Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, a Shiite, was traveling in an armored car in a convoy of about 10 vehicles when the bomb exploded in the Dora neighborhood. The blast killed two bystanders, including a 12-year-old, and wounded five traffic policemen, said Dora police officer Mohammad al Baghdadi.

It was not clear if he was the intended target or whether the bomb had been meant for a U.S. military convoy that was about 500 yards behind.

Al-Bolani is a senior member of Iraq's new unity government, which is struggling to put down a Sunni insurgency and sectarian fighting between Shiite and Sunni extremists in Baghdad.

U.S. officials said last week they had virtually cleared Dora of death squad cells, insurgent sympathizers and extremists as part of a new security strategy to clean up the capital neighborhood by neighborhood.

Elsewhere in Iraq, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul, killing one person, while British officials said a barrage of 17 mortar rounds were fired at one of their bases in the south.

The suicide bomber in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, detonated his explosives when he was stopped at a checkpoint as he tried to enter the police building, said Maj. Gen. Wathiq al-Hamdani, the city police chief.

One woman was killed and 10 people were injured in the blast, he said.

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