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Iraqi forces move into Sadr City; violence elsewhere

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  • Attack on Awakening Council official leaves 7-year-old dead
  • Al Qaeda in Iraq leader is killed, U.S. military says
  • Minibuses attacked in Baghdad, Nineveh province
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Attackers launched assaults across Iraq over the past 24 hours, killing 11 police recruits and six civilians, including a 7-year-old.

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Iraqi and U.S. troops conduct a joint patrol Monday in the northern city of Mosul during a push against insurgents.

Also, the U.S. military said it killed an al Qaeda in Iraq leader in northern Iraq.

The violence erupted as a peace agreement was taking hold in Baghdad's Sadr City, for weeks the scene of battles between Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias.

A suicide bomber exploded his vest outside the house of an Awakening Council leader, Sheikh Mutleb al-Nadawi, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Baquba in Diyala province, the military command in Diyala said.

Al-Nadawi was in the house and escaped injury, but a 7-year-old was killed and two of al-Nadawi's bodyguards were wounded.

Awakening Councils are the U.S.-backed Sunni groups that oppose al Qaeda in Iraq.

A mortar round landed on a busy outdoor market in Balad Ruz, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Baquba. Three civilians were killed, and nine were wounded.

A bomb exploded Tuesday inside a minibus in southeastern Baghdad's Rustumiya district, killing two passengers and wounding five, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said.

Insurgents also attacked a minibus filled with police recruits Monday in Baaj, a Nineveh province town near the Syrian border, killing 11 people, according to Mosul police. Iraqi security forces arrested 15 people in connection with the attack.

Backed by U.S. soldiers, Iraqi forces have been conducting an offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq in Mosul and the rest of Nineveh province.

American-led coalition troops killed a senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader east of Samarra in northern Iraq on Tuesday, the U.S. military said.

Meanwhile, the agreement forged to end the weeks of fighting in the capital's Sadr City is taking hold, government officials and witnesses said.

Thousands of soldiers and police officers have moved deep inside the restive neighborhood without resistance from Shiite militia members who have been fighting Iraqi and U.S. troops.

The troops have been clearing mines and soon will begin the process of confiscating weapons, officials said. No violence has been reported in the area since Monday.

Much of the earlier fighting involved the Mehdi Army militia of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and security forces dominated by a rival political party, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. The latter is the leading party in the government's United Iraqi Alliance bloc.

The agreement, hammered out between the United Iraqi Alliance and the Sadrists, is intended to clear the neighborhood of weaponry and outlaws and restore stability to the area.

Tahseen al-Sheikhly, civilian spokesman for Baghdad's security plan, said there has been great cooperation among residents, Sadrist supporters and government forces.

Gen. Qassim Atta, the military spokesman of Baghdad's security plan, said Tuesday that checkpoints and patrols have been established and coalition forces are ready to help Iraqi troops, but they have not entered Sadr City.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, the trial of Saddam Hussein-era officials Tariq Aziz, Ali Hassan al-Majeed -- also known as Chemical Ali -- and six others resumed Tuesday.

They are facing charges in connection with the executions of 42 Iraqi merchants in 1992.

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

All About Sadr CityIraqTariq AzizAli Hassan al-Majid

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