Suicide Bombers Kill 13 In Iraq

An Iraqi policeman mourns as he takes part in the funeral procession for Iraqi police Col. Jalil Nahi Hasoun, in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, May 7, 2007. Jalil Nahi Hasoun, the police chief of Samarra, north of Baghdad, was killed in a suicide car bomb attack the previous day.
AP Photo/Hadi Mizban
Suicide bombers killed 13 people in a pair of attacks Monday around the Sunni city of Ramadi in what local officials said was part of a power struggle between al Qaeda and tribes that have broken with the terror network.

In all, at least 68 people were killed or found dead nationwide Monday, police said. They included the bullet-riddled bodies of 30 men found in Baghdad — the apparent victims of sectarian death squads.

All but two of them were found in west Baghdad, including 17 in the Amil neighborhood where Sunni politicians have complained of renewed attacks by Shiite militiamen, according to a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to release those details.

The first of the Ramadi area attacks occurred about noon in a public market on the northwest outskirts of the city, killing eight people and wounding 13, said police Col. Tariq Youssef.

About 15 minutes later, police at a nearby checkpoint spotted a second car bomb and opened fire, but the driver was able to detonate the vehicle, Youssef said. Five people, including two policemen, were killed and 12 others were wounded, Youssef said.

The attacks occurred in areas controlled by the Anbar Salvation Council, an alliance of Sunni tribes formed last year to drive al Qaeda from their territory. Council officials blamed the attacks on al Qaeda.

"They committed this crime because we have identified their hideouts and we are chasing them," said Sheik Jabbar Naif al-Dulaimi.

In a Web statement Monday, an al Qaeda front organization, the Islamic State of Iraq, warned Sunnis against joining the government security forces — a move supported by the Salvation Council.

"We tell every father, mother, wife or brother who does not want to lose a relative to advise them not to approach the apostates, and we swear to God that we will use every possible means to strike at the infidels and the renegades," the group said.

The Islamic State also claimed responsibility Monday for a series of attacks that killed 34 people — including six U.S. soldiers and a Russian embedded photojournalist who died in a massive roadside bombing in Baqouba.

The 34 also included the police chief of Samarra, Col. Jalil Nahi Hassoun, who was killed Sunday in an attack on police headquarters. He was buried Monday following a tearful procession by police in blue uniform who escorted the flag draped coffin as it was driven through the Sunni city in the bed of a white pickup truck.

At least five al Qaeda fighters were killed in the fighting in Samarra, a U.S. military official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release details of the attack.

Also Monday, the military announced a U.S. soldier had been killed by small-arms fire in western Baghdad the day before, bringing to nine the number of troops who died Sunday.

The security situation in the capital figured high in talks between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and U.S. President George W. Bush, who conferred Monday in a video conference, the prime minister's office said in a statement.

Al-Maliki told Bush of the need to maintain cooperation between U.S. and Iraqi forces as they continue their crackdown, which is intended to end the chaos and violence in Baghdad, the statement said.

The White House confirmed that Bush spoke with al-Maliki.

In other violence, a mortar attack killed five people in Baghdad's mixed Baiyaa neighborhood, where more than 30 people were slain in a car bombing the day before.

In northern Iraq, gunmen attacked an Iraqi military checkpoint at the town of Baaj, killing two soldiers, two police officers and a civilian, police said.

Hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis have fled to Jordan and Syria.

Jordan said Monday that the more than 750,000 displaced Iraqis residing in the country has cost the government $1 billion a year and increasing Jordan's population by 14 percent.

In other developments:

  • The international Red Cross will scale up its operations in Iraq to provide food, water and medical treatment for hundreds of thousands of people struggling to survive amid the security situation in the country, the organization said Monday.
  • The House Republican leader said Sunday that GOP support could waver if President Bush's Iraq war policy does not succeed by the fall. However, Minority Leader John Boehner said Mr. Bush's "surge" plan deserves a chance to work.
  • An American general has warned of more casualties to come as the U.S. steps up its campaign to restore stability to Baghdad and surrounding areas. "In the next 90 days we're going to see increased American casualties because we're taking the fight to the enemy," Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. troops south of Baghdad, told reporters.
  • Christians felt relatively safe living as a minority in Iraq, tolerated by their Muslim neighbors while achieving a measure of success. But since Saddam fell, anti-Christian attacks have increased, forcing many to abandon their homes and flee.