Four suicide car bombings and other insurgent attacks Monday killed 10 people, and at least 16 Iraqis were wounded after militants opened fire on authorities trying to evacuate the injured from one of the blasts.
In one such attack, a suicide car bomb targeting a U.S. convoy in Baghdad missed and instead killed a 6-year-old girl and injured another five Iraqis.
In Baghdad's western Radwanya district, another Iraqi army soldier was killed and three were injured by a car bomb, hospital officials said.
Police have also found the bullet-riddled bodies of 28 people — many thought to be Sunni Arabs — buried in shallow graves or dumped along streets in Baghdad. At least one was identified as a security guard at a leading Sunni charitable organization.
A suicide car bomber blew himself up about 9 a.m. in the Khadra neighborhood of Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, as an American-Iraqi patrol was passing by, police Lt. Qassim Mohammed said.
As emergency crews gathered, a roadside bomb detonated and gunmen in two speeding cars also opened fire on the crowd, leading to a more than 30-minute exchange of gunfire. Three policemen were killed in the explosion and a total of 16 civilians were injured, Mohammed said.
In Saddam Hussein's nearby hometown of Tikrit, another suicide car bomber killed two police officers and injured six civilians when he blew himself up after being surrounded by security forces, police Lt. Col. Tariq Alwan Al-Jibouri said. A firefighter was also killed, he said, but the circumstances of his death were unclear.
The spiraling violence and rising U.S. death toll — it has— comes despite heavy counterinsurgent crackdowns by Iraqi and American forces in Baghdad and around the country that continued Monday with hundreds of suspected militants being rounded up in the past two weeks.
In other recent developments:
The new wave of attacks in Baghdad, Samarra and Tikrit came as radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr met with the Russia ambassador and tribal chiefs from the insurgent hotbeds of Fallujah and Ramadi. Russia and al-Sadr fiercely opposed the war.
The meetings in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, south of the capital, seemed to be a sign of al-Sadr's desire to return to active politics after going into isolation last fall following clashes between his militia — the Imam al-Mahdi Army — and U.S. troops.
Al-Sadr has in recent weeks been trying to mediate between an influential Sunni Arab association and a Shiite militia that have traded accusations of targeting each others supporters and clerics.
Ambassador Vladimir Chamov was making the first visit by a Russian envoy to al-Sadr's office since the U.S.-led war began two years ago.
"The meeting was in the framework of creating contacts between the Russian Embassy and the Iraqi parties and movements and we are pleased with the results of our talks," Chamov told reporters. "We talked about what the Iraqi people are facing and what's taking place in Iraq, including the American presence and terrorist attacks."