Iraq: Suicide Bomber Targets Funeral

An Iraqi police officer stands guard at a closed market place, in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2006. With Sunni-Shiite killings on the rise, most of the shops in Baghdad remain closed. Six people were killed in Iraq's ongoing sectarian and political violence, officials said Sunday.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
AP Photo/Karim Kadim
Fighting erupted early Monday in a Shiite militia stronghold of Baghdad, and a suicide bomber blew himself up among mourners at a funeral in Saddam Hussein's hometown, killing 10 people and injuring 22.

Three U.S. soldiers were killed late Sunday in a roadside bombing southwest of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. No further details were released.

In Baghdad, sounds of heavy gunfire and explosions rattled the Sadr City district starting about 1 a.m. Monday and persisted for more than an hour. Iraqi government television and aides to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said U.S. aircraft were attacking buildings in the area.

"Several aerial and ground raids began in central Sadr City," al-Sadr aide Jaleel al-Nouri said by telephone as detonations could be heard in the background. "We can see several houses on fire."

Kadhim al-Mohammedawi, a civil servant who lives in Sadr City, said by telephone that he could see two houses ablaze and "there's gunfire from all sides."

"We can hear women and children screaming," he said.

Col. Hassan Chaloub, police chief of Sadr City, said U.S. jets were flying over the city and at least three houses were ablaze. He said calls of "God is Great" and "There's no God but God" were blasting from loudspeakers in area mosques.

After more than an hour, the district was quiet residents said, except for the sounds of emergency vehicles racing through the streets.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. military, which has reinforced its troop strength in the city to try to reclaim the streets from militias, including al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.

In other developments:

  • Iraq is not on track to become another Iran despite the disconcerting images last week of Iraqis burning U.S. flags and chanting "Death to America," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday. "I have no doubt that this is an Iraqi government and an Iraq that is going to be a fierce fighter in the war against terrorism, because they themselves are experiencing the effects of terror on their population," Rice said.
  • On CBS's Face the Nation, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said Iraq is in a civil war. "This is a civil war. I think the generals, the other day, were cautious in their language. But I think they were telling us something loud and clear to anyone who wanted to listen," said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. And Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said, "I think where we go from here, with all the problems and inconsistencies, is a cold, hard assessment that Iraq is not going to turn out the way that we were promised it was.
  • Unidentified Iraqi witnesses testified behind closed doors Sunday at a U.S. military hearing to determine if five American soldiers should be tried in the rape-slaying of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl. The three of the girl's relatives also were killed in the town of Mahmoudiya on March 12 — one of the worst incidents in a series of cases alleging U.S. troops killed or abused Iraqi civilians.
  • U.S. soldiers sent to beef up security in Baghdad were seen for the first time on the streets of the capital Saturday as Iraqi police used loudspeakers to reassure people that the Americans were there to protect them. At least 21 people were killed or found dead, most of them in the capital. With Sunni-Shiite killings on the rise, about 3,700 soldiers of the Army's 172nd Stryker Brigade were brought from northern Iraq to bolster U.S. and Iraqi security forces that have struggled to contain the violence in Baghdad.