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Baghdad Dep. Police Chief Killed

The deputy police chief of Baghdad and his son, also a police officer, were assassinated Monday.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry says Brig. Amer Ali Nayef and his son, Lt. Khalid Amer, were gunned down in Baghdad's south Dora district while traveling in a car on their way to work.

The killings were the latest in a series of assassinations of ranking Iraqi security force officials on the eve of a landmark Jan. 30 election that insurgents are trying to disrupt.

Last Tuesday, gunmen shot dead the governor of Baghdad, Ali al-Haidari, and six of his bodyguards.

Only a few minutes after the assassinations, a suicide car bomb exploded inside the courtyard of a police station in southern Baghdad Monday, killing at least four policemen and injuring 10 others.

The explosion took place at 8 a.m. in the Zafarniyah district, just as police at the station were in the process of changing shifts.

In other recent developments:

  • A roadside bomb destroyed a U.S. tank patrolling southwestern Baghdad on Monday, killing two American soldiers and wounding four others, the military said. The blast destroyed the Abrams tank, the military said, suggesting that the bomb was enormous. The Abrams is one of the heaviest armored vehicles in the U.S. arsenal.
  • Internal U.N. audits sent to the director of the Iraq oil-for-food program uncovered extensive mismanagement of multimillion-dollar deals with contractors and fraudulent paperwork by its employees, according to copies of the some of the reports obtained by The Associated Press. Several hundred pages of the 56 audits are expected to be made public on Monday.
  • British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Britain and the United States will send a team to Iraq to reassess security in the face of spiraling violence. "In the key area around Baghdad there is no doubt about it at all. We have got to deal these people a blow," said Blair, in an interview Sunday with the BBC.
  • South Korea - the third largest contributor of troops to the coalition effort - says it has no information to confirm a claim by militants that two South Koreans have been kidnapped in Iraq. Last year, Kim Sun-il, a South Korean who worked for a company that supplies the U.S. military in Iraq, was abducted and beheaded by militants after Seoul refused to bow to their demands for the withdrawal of South Korean troops from Iraq.
  • U.S. forces have released about 230 Iraqis who had been detained in Abu Ghraib prison.
  • U.S. military officials say a Marine assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force was killed in action Sunday while conducting security and stability operations in the western province of Anbar, home to the volatile city of Fallujah.
  • A U.S. soldier assigned to Task Force Baghdad was killed Sunday by a roadside bomb near a police checkpoint in Yussifiyah, just outside the Iraqi capital.
  • Responding to a roadside bomb attack on their convoy south of Baghdad, U.S. troops opened fire near a police checkpoint south of the Iraqi capital, killing at least 8 people and wounding a dozen others, according to a nearby hospital official.
  • In another incident, seven Ukrainian soldiers and one from Kazakhstan died in an apparently accidental explosion at an ammunition dump south of Baghdad.
  • At least 1,353 U.S. military members have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

    Hours before Sunday's roadside bomb attack on U.S. troops, the U.S. acknowledged dropping a 500-pound bomb on the wrong house during a search for terror suspects outside the northern city of Mosul. The military said in a statement that five people were killed.

    The house's owner, Ali Yousef, said 14 people died when the bomb hit at about 2 a.m. Saturday in Aitha, a town 30 miles south of Mosul. An Associated Press photographer at the scene said the dead included seven children and seven adults. The discrepancy between the death counts could not be reconciled.

    Such attacks are exactly what the United States does not want prior to national elections scheduled for Jan. 30.

    Sunday, Iraq's most influential Sunni group said it will abandon its call for a boycott of the elections if the United States gives a timetable for withdrawing multinational forces.

    The first democratic vote in Iraq since the country was formed in 1932 is certain to see the Sunnis lose their dominance to the Shiites, who comprise 60 percent of Iraq's 26 million people. Sunni leaders have urged a postponement of the vote, largely because areas of Iraq where they dominate are too restive for preparations to begin.

    In what appeared to be another effort to persuade Sunni Muslims to participate in the vote, interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi met Saturday with 116 tribal leaders, clerics and political personalities from the restive provinces of Anbar, Salahuddine and Nineva.

    According to an Allawi spokesman, leaders at the conference expressed their support for "the democratic process in Iraq and cooperation with the government to stand against violence and terrorism."

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