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50 Seized From Baghdad Bus Stations

Gunmen in police uniforms raided bus stations Monday in central Baghdad, seizing at least 50 people, including drivers and passengers preparing to travel outside Iraq, an Interior Ministry official said.

The attackers also grabbed people working in the area, where several travel agencies are based and buses pick up passengers traveling mostly to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, Lt. Colonel Falah al-Mohamedawi said.

The victims, including two Syrians, were herded into more than a dozen vehicles, according to witnesses. It was not known who was behind the attack.

"They took all workers from the companies and nearby shops," said Haidar Mohammed Eleibi, who works for the Swan Transportation Co. in the Salihiya business district.

He said his brother and a cousin were among those detained, along with merchants, passers-by and even a vendor selling tea and sandwiches.

"They did not give any reason for it," he said. "Police came afterward and did nothing."

Another transportation worker, Amjad Hameed, said 15 cars belonging to police rushed to the area and began randomly seizing people. "We asked them why but nobody replied," he said, adding that Iraqi forces and Americans came to the site afterward.

In other developments:

  • Injured CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier will remain at a military hospital in Germany for a few more days before returning to the United States. Though Dozier had been looking forward to going home Sunday, wounded soldiers with more urgent needs had to be flown out before her.
  • An attack on an Italian military patrol in southern Iraq killed one soldier and wounded four others Monday night. Joint Italian Task Force Iraq said the explosion occurred at 9:35 p.m. about 60 miles north of Nasiriyah, where the Italians are based. Italy's new government is working out a timetable for withdrawal of all of Italy's troops from Iraq by the year's end.
  • A 30-year-old Iraqi accused of helping the kidnappers of British aid worker Margaret Hassan has been sentenced to life in prison. A judge convicted the man of aiding and abetting the kidnappers. Two other suspects were acquitted of a role in the abduction and death of the director of CARE international in Iraq. Hassan's 2004 abduction and slaying was among the highest-profile kidnappings of foreigners in Iraq in recent years.
  • Forensics teams say they're are finding new evidence of atrocities by Saddam Hussein and his regime. Skeletons, many wearing Shiite clothing and blindfolded, are turning up at two mass graves of victims from the suppression of a 1991 uprising. The chief investigative judge in Saddam's trial visited the sites over the weekend and told reporters there is documented evidence of more than 100,000 victims and the total could be as high as 180,000.
  • Just two witnesses testified on behalf of one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants Monday before the judge adjourned the trial until next week. The testimony was put off after the defense team protested last week's arrest of four witnesses. The chief judge says the witnesses are suspected of perjury. The defense says the witnesses were beaten by Iraqi guards.
  • The top U.S. military officer pledged a thorough investigation in the alleged massacre of Iraqi citizens in Haditha by Marines. Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it is not clear exactly what happened last November when as many as two dozen Iraqis were killed during a U.S. attack. Still, he said it was important not to rush to judgment. "You don't want to have the emotions of the day weigh into the process," Pace said.
  • A senior Democrat says the White House has a plan to not "totally lose" Iraq, but no plan on how to win there. Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware tells CBS News' The Early Show the Bush administration needs to find a way to get Sunni Arabs to buy into the new Iraqi government. As it stands now, he says there is no unity government in Baghdad, with a large part of the army and essentially the entire police force acting as "sectarian death squads."

    The dramatic attack on Baghdad travelers came a day after masked gunmen stopped two minivans carrying students north of Baghdad, ordered the passengers off, separated Shiites from Sunni Arabs, and killed the 21 Shiites "in the name of Islam," a witness said.

  • Haqi Ismail, a 48-year-old electrician, told The Associated Press that the attackers ordered the Shiites to lie down, and before they opened fire, one shouted, "On behalf of Islam, today we will dig a mass grave for you. You are traitors."

    In predominantly Shiite southern Basra, police hunting for militants stormed a Sunni Arab mosque early Sunday, just hours after a car bombing. Nine people were killed in the ensuing firefight.

    The surge in attacks has dealt a blow to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's pledge to curb sectarian violence. He also failed again to reach consensus Sunday among Iraq's ethnic and sectarian parties on candidates for interior and defense minister — posts he must fill to implement his ambitious plan to take control of security from U.S.-led forces within 18 months.

    Violence linked to Shiite and Sunni Arab animosity has grown increasingly worse since Feb. 22, when bombs ravaged the golden dome of a revered Shiite mosque in predominantly Sunni Arab Samarra.

    CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports new statistics from U.S. intelligence measure how much violence has surged. Attacks of all kinds are up 64 percent in the five months from January to May.

    Sectarian tensions have run particularly high in Baghdad, Basra and Diyala province, a mixed Sunni Arab-Shiite region. And Sunday's attacks came just days after terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi renewed his call for Sunni Arabs to take up arms against Shiites, whom he often vilifies as infidels.

    On Monday, gunmen in a car killed two Sunni brothers as they were driving to college in the religiously mixed neighborhood of Sadiyah in southwestern Baghdad, police Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq said. The victims, Ahmed and Arkan Sarhan, were in their early 20s.

    Police also found the blindfolded and bound body of a man who had been shot in the head and chest and another body that had been shot in the head in separate locations in Baghdad.

    Elsewhere, U.S.-led forces fired artillery at the train station in the western city of Ramadi, in volatile Anbar province, "targeting four military-aged males unloading a weapons cache," according to the U.S.-Iraqi Joint Operations Center.

    A hospital official, Dr. Omar al-Duleimi, said five civilians were killed and 15 wounded by American forces in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad.

    The Joint Operations Center said the mission had "positive effects on the target," but it denied the report that civilians were killed or injured.

    The influential Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars, meanwhile, warned the U.S.-backed Iraqi government against participating in any assaults against Anbar, a vast province that stretches from western Baghdad to the borders with Syria and Jordan.

    "Its consequences would be very dangerous for the Iraqi society and for the government," said Mohammed Bashar al-Faidi, a spokesman for the Sunni group believed to have links to insurgents.

    Al-Maliki has said that his government was working on a plan to restore security to the provincial capital of Ramadi and that Iraqi forces would work with U.S. troops.

    U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said last week that American forces are "very concerned" about the situation in Ramadi because al Qaeda in Iraq is taking advantage of sectarian differences to make inroads in the city west of Baghdad. About 1,500 U.S. combat troops have been moved from Kuwait to Anbar province to help establish order.

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