Several killed in Iraq blasts

A roadside bomb has exploded near an Iraqi army convoy on the outskirts of Baghdad, killing nine soldiers and wounding 20.

    Iraq has seen a recent rise in the frequency of attacks

    When the surviving soldiers responded by opening fire, they shot and killed the driver of a civilian car, said police Lieutenant Ahmad Abud.


    The attack occurred on Saturday about 7km from Abu Ghraib prison, which was at the centre of the prison abuse scandal last year after photographs were publicised showing US soldiers humiliating Iraqi inmates.


    Romanian plea 


    Meanwhile, Aljazeera has received a copy of a statement released by Muslims in Romania, calling on the captors of the Romanian journalists held in Iraq to follow Islamic principles and secure the captives' lives by releasing them soon.


    The captors are demanding
    Romania withdraw from Iraq

    The statement says abductions do not serve Islam, Arab nationalism or the Iraqi people's case, and that the captives are victims of international policies, just as the Iraqi people are.


    The statement came a day after the captors gave the Romanian government four days to withdraw its troops from Iraq.


    Aljazeera broadcast a video it had received, showing the two men and a woman who were abducted on 28 March in Baghdad.


    Dr Fariz Abd al-Majid al-Laqta, Head of the Islamic and Cultural League in Romania, told Aljazeera: "We Muslims living in Europe, call on the captors of the Romanian captives to be committed to Islam's tolerant principles in war and peace, secure the lives of the journalists and treat them well. 


    "We also call on the captors to respond to Islam's calls, apply its principles and release the captives and their guard soon."


    Other attacks


    An Iraqi civilian was killed by a roadside bomb on a highway in Samarra, 95km north of Baghdad on Saturday, said police Lieutenant Qasim Muhammad.


    A car bomb exploded near a Shia mosque in Abu al-Khasib, a town near Basra in southern Iraq, wounding two people, said police Colonel Karim al-Zaidi.


    The explosion in Basra killed at
    least two people

    In Mosul, 360km northwest of Baghdad, a roadside bomb hit an Iraqi army convoy, wounding three soldiers, said Dr Baha al-Din al-Bakri at the city's hospital.


    In eastern Baghdad, two policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb hit their car, said police Captain Mahir Abd al-Sattar.


    Elsewhere, two Iraqis were injured in a car bomb attack in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, Aljazeera learned.


    The booby-trapped car was parked on the side of a road in Abu al-Khasib area south of Basra city.


    A bomber exploded a booby-trapped car at a US checkpoint near a US military base in al-Zaidan area west of Baghdad, Aljazeera reported.


    There were no immediate reports on casualties.


    The violence is part of a surge of attacks that have caused heavy casualties in recent weeks, ending a relative lull since Iraqis voted in historic 30 January elections.


    Iraqi leaders are struggling to form a cabinet that will include members of the Sunni community, believed to be the driving force behind the uprising.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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