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Iraqi Journalist Killed In Fallujah

An Iraqi journalist whose newspaper is accused by insurgents of having published U.S. propaganda was killed late Tuesday in a drive-by shooting in Fallujah.

Police identify the victim as Ibrahim Seneid, an editor at the al-Bashara newspaper.

Fallujah police Lt. Mohammed Ali says leaflets were distributed in Fallujah last week accusing the newspaper of publishing U.S. propaganda and demanding its closure.

Dozens of journalists have been injured, killed or kidnapped in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who is now on trial for killing opponents of his regime while he was still in power.

The trial, in Baghdad, resumes on June 19th.

Before Tuesday's attack, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists had put the number of journalists killed in Iraq at 73, including 52 Iraqis and two CBS journalists, James Brolan and Paul Douglas.

In Baghdad Wednesday, a car bomb in a parked car blew up in the northern part of the city, killing at least four civilians and wounding six others. The explosion happened at about 11 a.m. in the Qahira district, despite a widespread deployment of thousands of Iraqi officers in an effort to bolster security in the wake of the June 7th killing of al Qaeda in Iraq terror group leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The al-Zarqawi killing has governments all around the world on the alert. Wednesday, authorities in Germany announced the arrest of an Iraqi suspected of transferring money to Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamic group in Iraq which has been linked to al Qaeda.

Prosecutors say the 36-year-old man, identified only as Burhan B., was arrested Monday at the airport in Frankfurt on suspicion of supporting a foreign terrorist organization and violating German export laws. He is accused of having given over $27,000 to Ata A. R., a suspected ringleader of Ansar al-Islam's European network. Ata A. R. is to go on trial in Stuttgart next week in connection with an alleged 2004 plot to kill then-Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi during a visit to Germany.

Ansar al-Islam and its successor, Ansar al-Sunna, are suspected of a string of deadly attacks on U.S. troops and Iraqi police as well as foreign embassies, international organizations and rival Iraqi groups.

In other recent developments:

  • About 500 Shiites attacked the Iranian consulate in Basra on Wednesday, replacing the Iranian flag with an Iraqi banner, throwing stones, destroying a diplomat's car, and setting fire to one of the consulate buildings. Police say the attackers are followers of Shiite cleric Mahmoud al-Hassani and apparently were protesting a program shown on Iranian television that accused him of being an Israeli agent.
  • In Baghdad Wednesday, some 2,000 followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr filled the streets in protest of Tuesday's surprise visit by President Bush. Demonstrators, chanting "Iraq is for Iraqis" and "No, to the occupation," demanded the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces from Iraq as they marched through the northern neighborhood of Kazimiyah. Al-Sadr led two armed uprisings against U.S.-led forces in 2004 and has frequently criticized the foreign military mission. His militia, the Mahdi Army, still operates in Basra.
  • Funeral services were held Tuesday in London for CBS soundman James Brolan, 42, and Monday in Bedford, England, for CBS cameraman Paul Douglas, who was 48. CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier, seriously wounded by the same bomb that killed Brolan and Douglas in Iraq on Memorial Day, is at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland and is doing a lot better than in the first days after the attack but still has a long road to full recovery.
  • The House passed a $94.5 billion bill Tuesday to pay for continuing U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, hurricane relief, bird flu preparations and border security at home. The House-Senate compromise bill contains $66 billion for the two wars, bringing the cost of the three-year-old war in Iraq to about $320 billion.
  • The new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, vowed to defeat "crusaders and Shiites" in Iraq, according to a statement posted on the Web Tuesday. "It's no secret the ferociousness of the battle that is going on between the soldiers of right and the soldiers of wrong, the crusaders, the rejectionists (Shiites) and apostates in Iraq," the statement said.
  • Iraqi police found eight bodies, including one policeman, in western Baghdad Tuesday. Elsewhere in the Iraqi capital, a professor at the Engineering College of Baghdad University was gunned down in a drive-by shooting as he was leaving his house in the Mansour neighborhood.
  • A series of explosions Tuesday struck the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk, killing at least 16 people.
  • Insurgents killed more than 50 people across Iraq Monday in bombs and drive-by shootings, a bid to show they were not defeated by al-Zarqawi's death. Also Monday, U.S. troops killed seven insurgents in a raid that also left two children dead not far from the place where al-Zarqawi was killed last week.
  • Iraqi and multinational troops fanned out early Wednesday for the beginning of a security operation they are describing as the biggest of its kind in Baghdad since the U.S. handed over sovereignty to Iraq in June 2004.

    Security officials said 75,000 Iraqi and multinational forces would be deployed throughout Baghdad, securing roads, launching raids against insurgent hideouts and calling in airstrikes if necessary.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised Tuesday to show "no mercy" to terrorists and said his long-awaited security plan for Baghdad will include a curfew and a ban on personal weapons.

    In his surprise visit to Baghdad Tuesday, President Bush made a surprise visit met with al-Maliki to discuss the new government's next steps.

    Mr. Bush's visit came on the final day of a two-day work session aimed at keeping up the momentum generated by last week's swearing-in of key Iraqi national security officials, and the U.S. airstrike that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

    Maj. Gen. Mahdi al-Gharrawi, the commander of public order forces under the Interior Ministry, said al-Maliki's plan includes securing roads in and out of Baghdad, banning personal weapons and implementing a 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew.

    He warned insurgents were likely to step up activity ahead of the security crackdown and as revenge for al-Zarqawi's death. He said the ground forces could call in air cover if needed.

    "We are expecting clashes will erupt in the predominantly Sunni areas," he said. "The terrorists will escalate their violence especially during the first week as revenge for the killing of al-Zarqawi."

    He also said; "Baghdad is divided according to geographical area and we know the al Qaeda leaders in each area."

    Iraqis have complained of random violence and detentions by Iraqi forces, especially the police, which are widely believed to have been infiltrated by so-called sectarian death squads.

    Al-Gharrawi said there are plans for a single uniform to distinguish legitimate forces in the coming days.

    "There will be a special uniform with special badges to be put on the vehicles as a sign that it belongs to our forces," he said, adding the prime minister would decide when to end the crackdown.

    Iraqi army Brig. Jalil Khalaf also said the plan would include more checkpoints and raids against suspected insurgent hideouts.

    "The terrorists cannot face such power," he said.

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