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Iraq Transition

Shiite holy day attacks kill at least 16

Iraqi police arrest man believed to have link to terrorist leader


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Attacks target Shiite worshippers marking holy day

Bombs explode outside Shiite mosques in Baghdad.

Redeployed troops return to a much different Iraq.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- On a day when bombers in Iraq launched attacks that killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 100, Iraqi police announced the arrest of a man they say is linked to terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Iraqi police arrested Haidar Mulaqatah during a raid in the Maffaraq area of western Baquba, about 30 miles north of Baghdad in Diyala province. The area has been a frequent site for insurgent attacks against coalition troops and Iraqi security forces.

Police said they also found weapons, including mortars, and equipment used to make counterfeit identification during the raid.

In another raid near Mosul on Saturday, Iraqi security forces captured another suspected insurgent.

Harbi Abdul Khudier Hammudi, who served as a colonel in the old Iraqi air force, is a leader of the Salafist Jihadist terrorist group and is believed to have been involved in several attacks against coalition forces, including the bombing of an Iraqi national guard convoy last year, police said.

Another leader in Hammudi's group, Faris Addula Younis, was also captured in the raid, police said.

The bombings in and around Baghdad -- coinciding with the celebration of Ashura, one of the holiest days on the Shiite calendar -- came a day after a flurry of similar violence that killed 31 people.

Thousands of Shiites took to the streets in Baghdad and Karbala to commemorate the day, which marks the death of Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.

The attacks are the latest examples of sectarian violence aimed at Shiites, who make up the majority of the population in Iraq. The Shiite-backed United Iraqi Alliance won a plurality of votes in the National Assembly elections held January 30.

Sunnis dominated the government under Saddam Hussein's regime, and many boycotted the assembly elections.

A flurry of attacks occurred in Baghdad, according to U.S. and Iraqi authorities, and coincided with a visit by a bipartisan delegation of U.S. senators, including John McCain of Arizona and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who have often challenged the Pentagon's planning and management of the Iraq war. (Full story)

  • In Adhimiya neighborhood, in northern Baghdad, three suicide bombers detonated bombs in a procession of pilgrims participating in Ashura prayers. An Iraqi policeman, two Iraqi soldiers and two civilians were killed, and 40 civilians were wounded.
  • Three people were killed and 38 wounded when a man rode a bicycle into a funeral tent in the al-Baya'a area of southwestern Baghdad, and detonated a bomb.
  • A U.S. soldier with Task Force Baghdad, three policemen and a civilian were killed in al-Khadhimiya, in central Baghdad. The U.S. military said 24 people were wounded, including a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi national guardsman, in the attack. After U.S. troops responded to a rocket-propelled grenade attack on an Iraqi police car, a suicide bomber on a nearby bus of Shiite pilgrims detonated a bomb. The number of U.S. troops who have died in the Iraq war is 1,473.
  • In al-Waziriya, in northern Baghdad, three people launched suicide attacks, police said. One detonated, killing an Iraqi soldier. Another bomber was killed by Iraqi soldiers, and a third was detained by the Iraqi army.
  • Two suicide bombers detonated near a mosque southwest of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. Initial reports described many casualties.
  • Baquba bombing

    An Iraqi soldier and a civilian were killed by a suicide bomber in Baquba, Iraqi police said. Five people were wounded, including an Iraqi soldier.

    The blast happened just 500 yards (457 meters) from where a Unity Day event was set to be held a few hours later.

    Unity Day was established by the U.S. military as an incentive to insurgents to voluntarily surrender.


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