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Car bomb kills 12 Iraqis

Government official assassinated outside home in Baghdad

Iraqi police remove a body from the wreckage of a police car destroyed in a suicide bombing Sunday.
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A rash of Baghdad killings have sparked new security fears.

Gearing up for the transfer of sovereignty.

An Iraqi official is slain and car bomb kills 12 in Baghdad
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• Interactive: Sectarian divide

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A car bomb near a U.S. military installation in southeastern Baghdad killed 12 Iraqis -- eight civilians and four police officers -- and wounded 13 others, the coalition said Sunday.

Also Sunday, insurgents assassinated Iraqi cultural affairs attaché Kamal al-Jarah outside his home in Baghdad.

And Saturday night, three prominent Kirkuk residents -- a cleric, the mayor and the police chief's father -- were killed in targeted attacks.

The Baghdad car bomb exploded about 9:15 a.m. (1:15 a.m. ET) near Camp Curvo, a U.S. forward operating base in the southeastern part of the city, Lt. Col. James Hutton said.

Brig. Gen. Jamal Abdullah of the Iraqi police described it as a suicide attack targeting an Iraqi police vehicle in Baghdad's Rustumia district.

Members of Iraq's government have become targets of insurgents who see them as collaborating with the U.S.-led coalition.

Saturday morning, Bassam Salih Kubba, one of Iraq's four deputy foreign ministers, was killed when a carful of assailants drove by and fired at him.

Assailants also opened fire on Iraq's deputy health minister, Ammar al-Saffar, Wednesday morning as he left his home for work. He escaped unharmed.

Last month, a convoy carrying Salama al-Khafaji, a female member of the Iraqi Governing Council, was ambushed. Al-Khafaji survived the assassination attempt.

In mid-May, a suicide bomber killed Izzedine Salim, who was just two weeks into his monthlong term as the council's president.

The governing council dissolved itself June 1 to make way for the interim government, which assumes leadership from the coalition June 30.

International invitation

Iraq wants the help of a multinational security force after the scheduled handover of power on June 30, but "On major operations, which [have] political consequences, they've got to seek the approval of the Iraqi leadership or command," said Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar, Iraq's interim president.

Al-Yawar said he has told President Bush "we really need to have multinational forces, effective ones -- we don't want to have 50 and 100 from each country, we don't want any from countries who abuse human rights ... It's very important to us to seek assistance from ... the United States, Great Britain, the European community and others to help us maintain security and order."

Al-Yawar also said trials of former Iraqi leaders -- leading up to the trial of Saddam Hussein -- could begin this summer.

Saddam "should be transferred to Iraqi sovereignty, given that we can make sure we can protect him until we have the trial," he said.

Al-Yawar said he has declined to visit Saddam in U.S. custody.

Al-Yawar has made a public effort to smooth relations with the United States but said he stands by some of his harshest criticism of U.S. actions in the country, including his reference to an April U.S. military operation in Fallujah as "genocide."

"If time goes back and the same situation happens, I would say the same," he said. "When you besiege a city by an army, you're just making them integrate together, and there will be a code of warriors trying to fight for their lives, which is wrong."

Al-Yawar rejected suggestions that the divisions among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds make unity in the country impossible.

"If you go to Iraq and live in Iraq, you would see how solid the Iraqi society is," he said. "We went through the worst time any nation could have went through last year, but the population of Iraq stayed together."

Other developments:

  • A U.S. soldier with Task Force Baghdad was killed and four others were wounded Sunday when a bomb detonated on the northern outskirts of the city, the coalition said in a news release.
  • In Najaf, where fighting has eased somewhat between insurgents loyal radical Islamic cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and coalition forces, a spokesman said al-Sadr is considering entering Iraqi politics. "There is a future plan on forming a political party to contest Iraq's January national election," Qais Khazaali said. "We have this idea, and we are discussing it, if this crisis will end, God willing."
  • U.S. Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said the U.S. military plans to release 650 inmates from Abu Ghraib prison Monday. The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military prison guards at the notorious facility has sparked outrage throughout the world.

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