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Iraq Transition

Baghdad ambushes kill 10; 'iron fist' security demanded

Story Highlights

NEW: More than 3.5 million Iraqis are displaced, U.N. says
• Shiite leader al-Hakim calls for crackdown against "Saddamist Baathists"
• Shiite mother, father, 4 children killed while moving out of capital
• At least 4 killed in ambushed bus carrying cleaning workers
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Ambushes killed 10 people in the Iraqi capital Monday, including a family, as a powerful Shiite leader called for "iron fist" security to protect Shiites from "Saddamist Baathists."

The Shiite family, including a mother, father and four children, were moving their belongings in a van as it passed through the city's Dora district, when gunmen attacked and killed them, according to the ministry.

In the second attack, gunmen ambushed a bus that was carrying cleaning workers to Baghdad International Airport, killing at least four and wounding nine others, said an Interior Ministry official. (Watch Iraqis struggle to do their jobs amid constant danger Video)

In a third attack -- in southern Baghdad -- three Muslim pilgrims returning from the Hajj were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a bus they were riding in, the Interior Ministry said.

Another roadside bomb exploded at a market in southeastern Baghdad's Zaafaraniya neighborhood, killing three people and wounding another.

A third roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol on the Ghadeer bridge in the New Baghdad section of eastern Baghdad. The attack killed one policeman and wounded another.

Shiite leader calls for 'iron fist'

Also Monday, the leader of Iraq's dominant parliamentary Shiite bloc blamed clerics in Saudi Arabia, a predominantly Sunni nation, for deadly attacks against Shiites in Baghdad and called for confronting "Saddamist Baathists" with "an iron fist."

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq party, called for quick executions for the codefendants of Saddam Hussein and other criminals.

Hussein, a Sunni, was executed by hanging on December 30.

He pressed the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to crack down on insurgents and accused the Saudi clerics of issuing "fatwas," or legal rulings under Islamic law, against Shiites.

"Shiite women, children and youth are being lynched in Baghdad and their bodies hanged from electricity poles based on these fatwas."

Al-Hakim called the attacks part of a "campaign of extermination" against members of the Muslim sect.

"The government must confront the terrorists. ... And the government must hit them with an iron fist," al-Hakim said.

Al-Hakim encouraged al-Maliki to crack down on violence by "die-hard Saddamist Baathists," calling them the biggest threat to Iraq.

In a warning posted on the Internet last month, the Baath Party, the political movement that ruled Iraq during the Hussein era, said there would be "grave consequences" if the former Iraqi leader was executed. (Full story)

Prosecutors: Hussein tapes discuss mass killings

Hussein and his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majeed, known as "Chemical Ali," discussed killing thousands with chemical weapons before unleashing them on Kurds in 1988, according to tapes played on Monday in a trial of former Iraqi officials, Reuters reported.

"I will strike them with chemical weapons and kill them all," Reuters quoted a voice identified by prosecutors as that of al-Majeed.

"Yes, it's effective, especially on those who don't wear a mask immediately, as we understand," another voice, identified as Hussein, is heard saying on another tape. (Full story)

No date has been set for the hanging of Hussein's codefendants, his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former Iraq Chief Judge Awad Hamed al-Bander, according to the Iraqi prime minister's office. (Full story)

All three were convicted of murder in the 1982 torture and murder of 148 Iraqi citizens in Dujail following an abortive assassination attempt on Hussein. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called upon the Iraq government to grant a stay of future executions.

United Nations: Millions of Iraqis displaced

More than 3.5 million Iraqis are displaced, and up to 50,000 more are fleeing their homes every month, the U.N. refugee agency said Monday.

"Many" were displaced before the United States launched war in Iraq in 2003, but "increasing numbers of Iraqis are now fleeing escalating sectarian, ethnic and generalized violence," the group said in a written statement. It announced an appeal for $60 million to fund relief work over the coming year.

U.S. soldiers killed

Two U.S. soldiers were killed in separate incidents north of Baghdad on Sunday, a military statement said.

A Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier died when his patrol came under small arms fire as it was repairing a crater caused by a roadside bomb.

In Salah Ad Din province, a Task Force Lightning soldier died from wounds received during combat operations, the U.S. military said.

The deaths bring total U.S. fatalities in Iraq to 3,013.

Also Sunday, a British soldier died in a traffic accident in southern Iraq, the British Ministry of Defense said. That death brings the total British military deaths to 128.

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