Many die in Baghdad truck bomb blast

A bomber in a flatbed truck laden with 230kg of explosives has killed at least 39 people and wounded 30 others outside a Baghdad police station, Iraqi police said.

    The blast destroyed two dozen cars

    The US military had initially said more than 40 civilians had been killed in the Sunday explosion in the Mashtal area of eastern Baghdad. This figure was not reconfirmed later.

    The attack occurred at the

    Rashad police station during a blinding sandstorm.

    Security barricades prevented the bomber from

    reaching the station, but the huge blast destroyed two

    dozen cars and damaged nearby shops.

    Body parts were strewn across a large area at the explosion site, Iraqi journalist Walid Khalid told Aljazeera. Many of the victims were charred beyond recognition.

    Other attacks

    One US soldier was killed and two

    were wounded on Sunday during a mortar attack near Balad north

    of Baghdad, the US military said.

    Elsewhere, armed men killed the head of the city council in

    Samarra, 95km

    north of Baghdad, police said.

    Council chairman Taha

    al-Hinderah and a companion were gunned down as they walked

    in the Albu Rahman neighbourhood on Sunday evening, said police

    Captain Laith Muhammad.

    The Baghdad blast  occurred
    during a sandstorm

    In Mosul, anti-US fighters emptied

    fuel from two tankers on the Muthanna Bridge across

    the Tigris river and set in on fire, police said. Two

    people were wounded in clashes that followed.


    Six policemen were also killed on Sunday in scattered attacks

    in Baghdad and Kirkuk, officials reported. Armed men in Kirkuk

    also killed an Iraqi soldier and wounded six people, police

    said.

    Sunni boycott

    Ayham al-Samaraei, a member of the Iraqi constitution drafting committee, said the Sunni Arab members would most likely resume

    their participation in the constitution drafting committee on Monday, pointing out that most of their demands have been met.

    Speaking to Aljazeera, al-Samaraei, of the Islamic Party, said the Sunni Arab boycott was not due to the provisions of the

    constitution, but the circumstances that accompanied its drafting.

    He renewed the call to review the provisions dealing with the federal system, which could be "understandable when talking

    about Kurdistan, but remain ambiguous when talking about other regions".

    Allawi bloc warning

    Meanwhile, members of former prime minister Iyad Allawi's bloc have threatened to walk out of the constitutional drafting

    committee in support of a Sunni group that has boycotted the process.

    Ex-premier Allawi's bloc said it
    was not consulted on the draft

    Committee member Adnan al-Janabi, who is also part of secular leader Allawi's eight-member bloc, criticised the way the

    commission dealt with the Sunni members' decision to suspend their participation in drafting the new charter.

    The committee is dominated by Kurds and religious Shia parties.
     
    "Their demands and suspension of membership should have been studied and taken in a way that reassures them and brings them

    to participate in the draft constitution that we want to be agreed upon by all Iraqis," he said.

    On Sunday, no Sunni members showed up at a planned constitutional meeting, though the group had indicated a day earlier that

    it was considering a return.

    Constitutional hurdles

    Shia member Baha al-Araji said no decision would be taken "without the presence of the brothers unless there is a

    reason for the absence. Therefore, the committee will be committed to handing over the draft at the time agreed upon".

    "Their demands and suspension of membership should have been studied and taken in a way that reassures them..."

    Adnan al-Janabi,
    Allawi bloc member

    The threatened walkout by Allawi's group is the latest hurdle in the commission's goal of getting a constitution drafted and

    approved by the assembly on 15 August. That charter would then be scheduled for a public referendum two months later.

    The mixed make-up of the committee was deemed crucial for drafting a constitution acceptable to all of Iraq's ethnic and

    religious communities.
     
    On Thursday, the 12 remaining Sunni members of the commission suspended their participation to protest against the

    assassination of Sunni member Mijbil Isa and adviser Dhamim Husayn al-Ubaidi by unknown armed men. Two of the original 15

    Sunni members had resigned earlier over threats against them.

    They had demanded an international investigation into the killings, better security and a greater Sunni role in deliberations.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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