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Iraq Transition

Suicide car bomber kills 11 in Ramadi


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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A suicide car bomber killed 11 Iraqi policemen and wounded 14 others in Ramadi, the U.S. military said Friday.

The policemen were members of the 2nd Iraqi Special Police Commandos. Two U.S. soldiers and two Iraqi civilians also were injured.

The bombing occurred Thursday at a checkpoint.

Assailants also attacked a truck convoy Friday in the Baghdad area, Iraqi emergency police said, killing a driver and stealing a truck.

The three-truck convoy was carrying reconstruction materials belonging to the Trade Ministry.

On Thursday, gunmen in a vehicle killed five cleaning women who were on their way home from jobs at a U.S. military base.

The three sisters and two other women were killed in Baghdad's al-Mashtal neighborhood.

Also on Thursday, the U.N.'s top representative in Iraq told the president of the nation's highest Sunni Muslim authority that all political factions should be involved in writing an Iraqi constitution.

Ashraf Qazi, special representative of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, met with Sheikh Harith al-Dhari, president of the Association of Muslim Scholars at Baghdad's Um Al Qura mosque, according to a U.N. statement.

The association boycotted Iraq's January 30 elections and later questioned their legitimacy. (Full story)

Voters chose a 275-member transitional National Assembly, which will draft a new constitution and pick the country's next president and two vice presidents.

Qazi "stressed the importance of ensuring that all components of Iraqi society are adequately represented in the constitution-making process," the statement said.

He "underlined the need for all Iraqi political forces in the writing of the constitution, which will be put to vote in a public referendum towards the end of the year."

The meeting comes in advance of this weekend's convening of the assembly.

Arab Sunnis dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein although they are a minority of the population. Shiite Muslims comprise about 60 percent of the Iraqi people and were persecuted under Saddam, who is Sunni.

Iraq's Kurds and the Shiites, who dominated in the elections, have been trying to bring the Sunnis into Iraq's political process.

On Tuesday, interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi urged politicians, including the assembly president, Sheikh Dhary Al-Fayadh, to help "speed up" the new government's formation.

Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and a top candidate for the president in the transitional government, said last week that the transitional assembly will probably choose a new government by this weekend.

Shiite Dawa Party leader Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who is expected to be selected prime minister, said last week that lawmakers want a Sunni Arab to be assembly speaker.

Other developments

  • Gen. George Casey, head of U.S. forces in Iraq, could recommend within weeks that tens of thousands of troops return home beginning this summer, CNN has learned. Senior U.S. military officials said a final decision on the proposal depends on whether the security situation in Iraq improves.
  • Two Iraqi police officers and three Iraqi army officers were accidentally killed Thursday in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, police said. Iraqi police mistook Iraqi soldiers who were dressed as civilians for armed insurgents, sparking a gunfight, police said.
  • An investigation is being conducted in the death this week of a "security detainee," the U.S. military said Thursday. The unidentified detainee died at multinational jail and an autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death, the military said.
  • U.S. and Iraqi forces arrested 13 suspected insurgents and found weapons during raids Wednesday and Thursday south of Mosul and near Tal Afar, the U.S. military said. In a separate operation on Wednesday, Task Force Baghdad soldiers found an ammunition cache at a house in the southern part of the capital, the military reported.
  • CNN's Kevin Flower and Aneesh Raman contributed to this report.


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