Baghdad bomb kills at least 14, injures dozens

At least 14 people were killed and 75 wounded in a car bomb attack in central Baghdad on Wednesday, which targeted the convoy of Industry Minister Fawzi al-Hariri, Interior Ministry sources said.

Al-Hariri, a Kurd, was not in the convoy when it was attacked. Two of his bodyguards were among those killed, Dhuha Mohammed, an Industry Ministry spokesperson, said. “The minister is at the ministry and perfectly safe.”

The car bomb detonated in the capital’s Karrada district in the Christian neighbourhood of Camp Sara as the convoy passed, police said.
A subsequent roadside bomb blast also caused casualties.

Mangled wreckage lay on the road and the fronts of shops were blown out, witnesses said.

Insurgents fighting the Shi’ite-led national unity government have frequently targeted government ministers.

A car bomb also killed one person when it exploded in Baghdad’s restive Dora district.

US soldiers killed

Insurgents shot dead two United States soldiers on Tuesday, the US military said on Wednesday. One was killed in Baghdad the other near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has launched a four-point plan to try to end sectarian violence in Iraq. The plan, agreed by top Shi’ite and Sunni politicians late on Monday, hopes to halt communal fighting by allowing mixed “security committees” to patrol Baghdad’s numerous districts.

Extra talks to discuss the details of the plan were expected on Wednesday afternoon. A senior Shi’ite politician said discussions would centre on the issue of internal refugees driven out by extremists in areas where they formed a minority.

Figures compiled by the Displacement and Migration Ministry say at least 42 000 families have fled their homes since the bombing of a Shi’ite shrine in February dramatically increased sectarian violence in Iraq.

Sunni insurgents often bomb crowded Shi’ite areas and Sunnis accuse Shi’ite militias of infiltrating Iraq’s security forces to run death squads in the capital.

An Interior Ministry spokesperson said a regiment commander was arrested on Tuesday for negligence and failing to report the mass kidnapping of mainly Sunni factory workers in southern Baghdad on Sunday.

In the violent province of Diyala, an Iraqi army colonel said US soldiers had arrested 10 soldiers on Tuesday who guard Brigadier Shakir al-Kaabi, the head of the army’s 5th division.

The US military could not be reached for comment, and it was not clear why the arrests were made.—Reuters

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