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Iraq Transition

Suicide bombers kill 23 in Iraq

Bodies of 14 men found shot to death in Baghdad, police say

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgents continued a stepped-up wave of bombings Friday, killing at least 23 people and wounding dozens more, Iraqi police said.

Police also discovered the bodies of 14 men who had been shot to death on wasteland near an industrial area of Baghdad, officials said.

The men, dressed in traditional Iraqi clothing, had been shot in the head, police said.

Authorities said they found the bodies after they received a tip that someone was digging a grave.

Friday's bombings were the latest in about nine days of insurgent hits, most targeting security forces, that have left more than 250 people dead -- Iraqi police, army personnel, civilians and coalition soldiers.

Friday's most deadly suicide bombing hit a crowded market around midday in As Suwayra. At least 16 people died and at least 40 were wounded.

No military target was nearby, police said.

The city is part of a dangerous stretch that has earned the name "Triangle of Death" because of the rampant criminal activity there. As Suwayra is more than 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad.

In Tikrit, a suicide bomber rammed his car into a bus carrying Iraqi police officers to work, killing seven people and wounding three others, Iraqi police said.

The attack against the 45-passenger bus happened at 8 a.m. Friday, police said.

Tikrit, deposed ruler Saddam Hussein's hometown, is 90 miles (150 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

Kidnappers' demand

The kidnappers of a recently abducted engineer said Friday they will kill him if Australia fails to withdraw its troops from Iraq within 72 hours, the Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera reported.

New pictures of Douglas Wood, a 63-year-old Australia native who lives in California, were shown Friday. In the video, he appears distressed and has a newly shaven head and a black eye. (Full story)

His captors, the Shura Council of the Mujahedeen of Iraq, have claimed responsibility for other kidnappings in the past year.

Prime Minister John Howard has said his country will not not bow to insurgent demands.

Australia has about 1,400 troops in Iraq.

Other developments

  • Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has told Parliament that he disagreed with some of the U.S. military's conclusions into the shooting death of an Italian security agent by U.S. soldiers in Iraq. However, he said the death will not harm Rome's relationship with Washington and that Italy has no intention of speeding up its withdrawal from Iraq. (Full story)
  • The U.S. House of Representatives approved $82 billion in funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The vote Thursday was 368-58, with one abstention. The Senate is expected to vote next week on the measure. (Full story)
  • Jordan's official news agency Petra reported Thursday that Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, will travel to Jordan on Saturday for a two-day visit. He and Jordan's King Abdullah II will discuss "bilateral relations" on Talabani's first foreign visit since his election in April, Petra said.
  • U.S. and Iraqi forces seized 22 suspected insurgents and bomb-making materials during operations in the northern cities of Mosul and Tal Afar on Friday, the U.S. military said.
  • CNN's Ryan Chilcote, Enes Dulami, Kevin Flower, Ayman Mohyeldin, Octavia Nasr and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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