HT Image
HT Image

Seven dead in fresh Iraq violence

The killings came amid calls to replace the interior minister because of worsening security in the country.
None | By Associated Press, Baghdad
PUBLISHED ON JUL 31, 2006 02:11 PM IST

Police on Monday discovered the bodies of two men, shot in the head and chest, a day after gunmen beheaded four policemen and a lawyer, amid calls to replace the interior minister because of worsening security in the country.

Also on Monday, a roadside bomb exploded near a US military convoy in eastern Baghdad inflicting casualties, said 1st Lt Bilal Majid.

He said he had no details about the casualties.

Meanwhile, police found on Monday the bodies of two unidentified men, who had been shot in the head the chest, in northeastern Baghdad, said police Maj Mahir Hamad Mussa.

He said the men, who appeared to be aged between 30 and 35 years, were dressed in civilian clothes and had their hands and legs tied.

The circumstances leading to their death were not known. Funerals were performed on Monday for five people who were beheaded by unidentified gunmen on Sunday near the northern town of Hawija, said police Col Burhan Tayeb.

He said the four policemen and a lawyer were travelling in a car from Tikrit to Kirkuk when they were stopped by then gunmen.

All five were ordered off the vehicle and beheaded, said Tayeb.

Hawija is 240 kms (150 miles) north of Baghdad. The violence occurred amid rising concern about the deteriorating security in Baghdad and surrounding towns, mostly blamed on sectarian conflict between the country's Shiites and Sunnis.

Defence Minister Abdul-Kareem Mohammed Jassim and the army Chief of Staff Gen Babaker B Shawkat Zebari issued a statement late on Sunday to ministry employees, urging them to avoid factional, ethnic and sectarian fights.

"We call upon you to be good to your people and your Iraqi brothers and we hope that carrying your duty is accompanied by the love of the people," the statement said.

Several key Iraqi parliament members are pressing to replace Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, who is responsible for police and paramilitary commandos at the forefront of the fight against extremists in the capital.

"Some changes will take place in Cabinet during the coming days," said Hassan al-Suneid, a member of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa party.

"There is talk among the Cabinet, the (Shiite) alliance and parliament about changing the interior minister because he is unqualified."

Al-Bolani, a Shiite, was chosen for the sensitive post after protracted negotiations among the various religious and ethnic parties within the national unity government. The interior and defence posts were not filled until June 8 _ nearly three weeks after the rest of the Cabinet.

The Interior Ministry, which controls the police, and the Defence Ministry, which manages the army, are the two most important and sensitive Cabinet posts.

Story Saved