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28 die after police lured to booby-trapped house

Officials say terror leader linked to al-Zarqawi captured in Mosul


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On Wednesday, an Iraqi woman stands outside houses destroyed in the explosion in western Baghdad.
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At least 28 Iraqis are killed in a house explosion in Baghdad.

A soldier describes the attack that killed his friend.

U.S. troops work to armor vehicles before sending them into Iraq.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- At least 28 people, including several Iraqi police officers, died Tuesday night when a house exploded in western Baghdad, police said.

Initial evidence suggested that insurgents set a trap for police and lured them into the booby-trapped house.

Police entered the house two hours after an anonymous tipster told them it was an insurgent hideout. A gunbattle had taken place in the area earlier in the evening.

Iraqi police said 28 people died in the blast, but the number of police officers among the dead was uncertain.

The U.S. military said at least four police officers were killed, but a Baghdad police official put the number at nine.

Explosives inside the house detonated just as police entered it, killing the police and civilians, a police official said.

The house was in the Ghazaliya neighborhood of western Baghdad, the location of frequent clashes with insurgents.

An Interior Ministry official said 21 people were hurt and three other houses were destroyed.

A U.S. military statement said it is believed between 1,700 to 1,800 pounds of explosives were rigged to go off inside the house.

Earlier Tuesday, 18 Iraqi police officers and five Iraqi national guard troops died in several attacks across the restive Sunni Triangle region.

The attacks Tuesday were the latest in recent days aimed at the symbols of Iraqi security as the country prepares for elections to choose a provisional national assembly January 30.

Fighting in Mosul

In Mosul, two U.S. soldiers were injured Wednesday when two car bombs exploded near their patrol southwest of the city, a U.S. military spokesman said.

The same patrol later encountered several suspected insurgents planting explosive devices in the area, the spokesman said. Close air support was called in and at least five suspected insurgents were killed, he said.

Twelve of the suspected insurgents were detained, and the U.S. patrol disarmed six improvised bombs as well as others mounted in two cars, the spokesman said.

On Tuesday, Iraqi security forces repelled three insurgent attacks against two police stations in Mosul, a statement from the U.S. military said.

Elsewhere in Mosul, the U.S. Stryker Brigade Combat Team detained 18 people "suspected of anti-Iraqi activities" in two separate operations Tuesday by the 2nd Infantry Division outfit, the statement said.

Key terror leader captured

Iraqi officials announced Wednesday that a key leader of a Mosul-based terror group affiliated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network was captured last week.

A statement from the interim government's communications department said Abu Marwan, 33, was taken into custody December 23 by multinational forces after tips from "concerned Iraqi citizens."

Marwan was identified as a senior commander of the group Abu Talha.

The statement said Marwan was responsible for "conducting and commanding terrorist operations in Mosul, purchasing weapons for the terrorist group and coordinating the training of terrorist cells within the Abu Talha terrorist group."

CNN's Arwa Damon, Nermeen Al Mufti and Mohammad Tawfeeq contributed to this report.


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