Mortar kills 12 in Baghdad


Summary

A mortar barrage has slammed into a mainly Shi'ite east Baghdad neighborhood, killing 12 and wounding 31.

南宁桑拿

A major battle also raged north of the capital where residents of a Shi'ite city were fighting what police said was a band of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Women and children were among the dead and wounded in the Baghdad mortar attack and some houses in the neighbourhood were damaged, police said.

The victims were taken to Ibin al-Nafis and Sadr hospitals.

Witnesses said US helicopters were hovering above the attack site.

Al-Qaeda counteroffensive

In Khalis, 80km north of Baghdad, police said more than 1,500 people including sheiks and dignitaries had gathered near city hall to launch the counteroffensive against al-Qeida fighters who have been regularly firing mortars into the town and kidnapping residents at illegal checkpoints.

At least seven people were killed and 18 wounded in a mortar attack on Khalis yesterday.

Police said the city militia also said they were determined to push al-Qaeda fighters out of the nearby town of Hibhib, where the terror organisation's former leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in an US air strike.

In central Baghdad, gunmen driving several cars waylaid a minibus headed for Sadr City, the capital's Shi'ite enclave, and abducted 13 passengers.

Interfactional talks

Meanwhile, Iraq's fractious leaders have agreed on the agenda for a political summit called by embattled Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in a bid to salvage his crumbling unity government.

The breakthrough came on the second day of preparatory talks involving the country's most senior political leaders, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said in a statement.

In a bid to shore up his government, Maliki announced the formation of an alliance grouping his Shiite Dawa party and Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the Kurdish factions of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdish Democratic Party (PDK).

But the National Concord Front slammed the new tie-up as a "futile" exercise.

Mr Maliki is under growing pressure from Washington to end the infighting, concerned that it could torpedo efforts to reconcile the warring factions and undermine the work of 155,000 American troops trying to end the conflict.

The US has pushed around 30,000 extra troops as part of a "surge" into Baghdad and surrounding flashpoint provinces in a bid to stamp out the sectarian violence which has killed thousands of people in the past 18 months.

Displaced

Meanwhile, several families are displaced following suicide truck bombings that killed up to 500 people in Northern Iraq last week.

The coordinated suicide truck bombings were the worst terrorist attack since the beginning of the war.

The victims of the attack, which the US blamed on al-Qaida, were members of the Yazidis, a small Kurdish sect that has been the target of Muslim extremists who label it blasphemous.


A mortar barrage has slammed into a mainly Shi'ite east Baghdad neighborhood, killing 12 and wounding 31.

苏州皮肤管理中心

A major battle also raged north of the capital where residents of a Shi'ite city were fighting what police said was a band of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Women and children were among the dead and wounded in the Baghdad mortar attack and some houses in the neighbourhood were damaged, police said.

The victims were taken to Ibin al-Nafis and Sadr hospitals.

Witnesses said US helicopters were hovering above the attack site.

Al-Qaeda counteroffensive

In Khalis, 80km north of Baghdad, police said more than 1,500 people including sheiks and dignitaries had gathered near city hall to launch the counteroffensive against al-Qeida fighters who have been regularly firing mortars into the town and kidnapping residents at illegal checkpoints.

At least seven people were killed and 18 wounded in a mortar attack on Khalis yesterday.

Police said the city militia also said they were determined to push al-Qaeda fighters out of the nearby town of Hibhib, where the terror organisation's former leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in an US air strike.

In central Baghdad, gunmen driving several cars waylaid a minibus headed for Sadr City, the capital's Shi'ite enclave, and abducted 13 passengers.

Interfactional talks

Meanwhile, Iraq's fractious leaders have agreed on the agenda for a political summit called by embattled Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in a bid to salvage his crumbling unity government.

The breakthrough came on the second day of preparatory talks involving the country's most senior political leaders, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said in a statement.

In a bid to shore up his government, Maliki announced the formation of an alliance grouping his Shiite Dawa party and Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the Kurdish factions of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdish Democratic Party (PDK).

But the National Concord Front slammed the new tie-up as a "futile" exercise.

Mr Maliki is under growing pressure from Washington to end the infighting, concerned that it could torpedo efforts to reconcile the warring factions and undermine the work of 155,000 American troops trying to end the conflict.

The US has pushed around 30,000 extra troops as part of a "surge" into Baghdad and surrounding flashpoint provinces in a bid to stamp out the sectarian violence which has killed thousands of people in the past 18 months.

Displaced

Meanwhile, several families are displaced following suicide truck bombings that killed up to 500 people in Northern Iraq last week.

The coordinated suicide truck bombings were the worst terrorist attack since the beginning of the war.

The victims of the attack, which the US blamed on al-Qaida, were members of the Yazidis, a small Kurdish sect that has been the target of Muslim extremists who label it blasphemous.