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Iraqi civilian is shot dead

BAGHDAD: Seventeen people, most of them policemen, were killed yesterday in a new wave of violence in Iraq.

An Iraqi civilian was shot dead by a joint US-Iraqi patrol yesterday for driving too close to its military vehicle, despite warnings, in the northern city of Mosul, the US military said in a statement.

In other violence, two suicide bombers struck yesterday near the Green Zone in central Baghdad. A third was wounded and captured. Two policemen died and seven were wounded in the blasts. Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility.

Police said gunmen killed five Iraqi employees of an American base in Baqouba, 60km northeast of Baghdad.

Also yesterday, gunmen attacked Al Iraqiya TV crew covering funeral ceremonies for some of the victims in eastern Baghdad, wounding three.

Iraqi security forces discovered the bodies of 10 men handcuffed, blindfolded and shot in the head, police said yesterday.

Gunmen in western Baghdad and near the northern city of Kirkuk killed three policemen each, authorities said. A separate group of assailants killed police Capt Manhal Salim, an expert in defusing bombs in the capital.

Another two policemen were killed and four injured in a shooting attack yesterday in western Baghdad.

A loud explosion shook central Baghdad late yesterday sending a pall of oily black smoke into the night sky and flames could be seen from a kilometre away.

The killings come a day after 32 Iraqi children were killed by a suicide bomber on Wednesday. Nine mourning tents were raised yesterday on a street as relatives, some despondent, others in tears, seemed deaf to words of comfort their friends offered.

All streets leading to the neighbourhood were blocked off and young people bearing weapons searched anyone who wanted to enter.

Meanwhile, Abdul-Aziz Al Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Iraq's largest Shi'ite group, said insurgents in Iraq have been killing Shi'ites and burying them in mass graves because of their faith.

l A majority of Americans give President George W Bush low marks for being "honest and straightforward," but they agree with him in considering Iraq as the front line in the war against terrorism, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll published yesterday. Bush's approval rating in the poll was at 45 per cent, down one point from May. Nonetheless, by a 57 to 42pc margin, Americans agree with Bush in maintaining US military and economic commitment in Iraq until it can govern and control itself.



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