Iraq vice-president escapes blast

Bombing at Baghdad ministry as Washington accuses Iran of fanning violence in Iraq.

    A bomb exploded outside a meeting room in the
    Iraqi public works ministry [AFP]

    Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a Shia and one of Iraq's two vice-presidents, suffered bruises and was taken to a hospital to be examined, an aide said.

     

    A senior political source said that Abdul-Mahdi was briefly taken to hospital for "routine checks" after suffering minor wounds in the blast.

    "The bomb was hidden just outside the meeting room. An inquiry has been launched," a security official told AFP news agency. 

    Accusation

     

    Mortar bombs and rockets were among the
    weapons displayed by the US military [AFP]

    Washington, which accuses Iran of fanning violence in Iraq, is particularly concerned about so-called "explosively formed penetrators", a sophisticated Iranian-made roadside bomb the US military says has killed 170 US soldiers in Iraq since 2004.

     

    Military officials who displayed some of the weapons for reporters at a US base in Baghdad said the weaponry was clearly made in Iran.

     

    They said there was no way to know if the Iranian government was involved in supplying the weapons.

       

    US officials said this month the Quds Force, a unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, was supplying weapons to Shia groups in Iraq.

    Ramadi attack

    In Ramadi, a suicide bomber in a stolen ambulance killed 14 people on Monday in an attack on a police post in an area controlled by Sunni tribes opposed to al-Qaeda in Iraq, a medical official said.
      
    Omar al-Alwani, a doctor at Ramadi Hospital, told the AFP news agency that five police and nine civilians, including three children, were killed in the attack in the Albu Alwan area of the city.
      
    The US military confirmed the explosion but said that initial reports indicated that three civilians and two Iraqi policemen were killed.
      
    The police post had been set up in a converted house at the heart of a residential area that has become a target for al-Qaeda fighters since local tribal leaders formed a movement to oppose them.

     

     

    Crackdown

     

    Another eight people were killed in bomb and mortar attacks across Baghdad during the morning rush hour despite thousands of US and Iraqi forces being deployed in the capital in an operation regarded as a final effort to stop Iraq plunging into all-out civil war.

     

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    One day after Moqtada al-Sadr, an anti-American Shia cleric, publicly attacked the security crackdown, his aides said the firebrand had not withdrawn his support for the plan.

       

    Al-Sadr, who led his Mahdi Army militia in two uprisings against US forces in Iraq in 2004, said in a statement on Sunday there was no benefit in the plan because it was controlled by US forces.

     

    Al-Sadr made his comments hours after a female suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives killed 40 people in a student college.

     

    Salih al-Ugeyli, a spokesman for al-Sadr's political movement, said Sunday's statement was meant to encourage Iraqi forces to act independently from the US military. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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