Violent Backdrop For Peacemaking

A police officer removes debris from the road after an IED, Improvised Explosive Device, targeting a U.S. convoy hit a civilian vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday Jan. 2, 2006. One civilian was killed and 2 others were wounded in the attack.
A suicide car bomber targeted police recruits riding in a bus north of Baghdad on Monday, killing seven people, and gunmen in the capital killed five laborers, police said. Iraq's Kurdish president met with the Shiite prime minister in northern Iraq for talks on the formation of the country's next government.

At least three police recruits were killed by the car bomb, and another four people also died, although officials couldn't immediately say whether they were recruits or civilians. Thirteen people were wounded, the Diyala police said. The bus had been traveling to a training center in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

In the capital, gunmen in two cars opened fire on laborers, killing five, police Capt. Qasim Hussein said.

Meanwhile, in a step toward peace, Iraq's main Sunni Arab group made an unprecedented trip north to see the Kurds and agreed Monday for the first time on broad outlines for a coalition government possibly opening a way out of the political turmoil that has gripped the country after disputed elections.

In other developments:

  • The U.S. military says there was no hostile action involved in the deaths of four U.S. civilian contractors yesterday in western Iraq. They were killed in a vehicle accident at an air force base in Iraq's western Anbar province. The military says the contractors were in a bus that was hit by a seven-ton truck. Another 18 civilians were hurt, with nine requiring hospitalization. One Marine also was slight hurt in the accident, which is under investigation.
  • Farris Hassan, the U.S. high school student inspired by a journalism class to embark on a three-week solo trip to the Middle East so he could immerse himself in the lives of Iraqi citizens, returned home to Florida Sunday amid throngs of reporters and photographers.
  • Gunmen clashed with Iraqi police in western Baghdad, killing three policemen and wounding two, police Maj. Moussa Abdul Karim said.
  • A car bomb exploded in Baghdad near an American convoy, Hussein said. Police had no information on casualties, and U.S. officials do not usually comment on such attacks.
  • A convoy carrying Turkey's ambassador to Iraq was fired on as it sped through western Baghdad, damaging some of vehicles but causing no injuries, the embassy said. AP Television News images showed several of the cars' bulletproof windows had been smashed in by bullets.
  • Police found the bodies of eight civilian men handcuffed, shot and dumped at a sewage plant in southeast Baghdad. The body of a policeman shot in the head was found in western Baghdad.
  • Police found three bodies in Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of Baghdad, police Capt. Mothana Khalid said.