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Iraq Transition

Attacks leave at least 28 dead in Iraq

Police: Bodies of 10 Shiites found near Syrian border

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Attacks killed at least 28 people and wounded dozens of others in five Iraqi cities within the past 24 hours, authorities said Saturday.

Seven Iraqis died and 35 others were wounded in two blasts Saturday near a U.S.-Iraqi military base in the northwest town of Sinjar, Iraqi and American officials said.

The U.S. military said the attacks included one car bomb and an rocket-propelled grenade, while Iraqi police said they involved two car bombs.

Most of the dead and wounded were Iraqi workers employed at the base, police said.

Sinjar is near the Syrian border, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) west of Mosul in the restive Ninevah province.

In Mosul, a roadside bomb exploded Saturday at a U.S. military checkpoint on a bridge, killing three civilians and wounding eight others, police said.

In Saddam Hussein's ancestral homeland of Tikrit, two car bombs detonated Friday night, killing nine people and wounding 44 others, government officials said.

The first bomb killed two civilians and wounded seven others when it exploded outside a telecommunications building, an Iraqi official said.

The second bomb -- apparently targeting emergency vehicles responding to the first blast -- killed two Iraqi police officers and five civilians, the U.S. military said. Thirty-seven others were wounded, including 19 police officers, when a suicide bomber drove in behind the emergency vehicles, the military said.

Tikrit is 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

In Latifiya, just south of Baghdad, gunmen killed eight people, including two Iraqi soldiers, in two separate attacks Friday, police said.

Police said gunmen ambushed a car carrying four Iraqi soldiers dressed in civilian clothes, killing two of the soldiers and the driver and critically wounding the other two troops.

Later gunmen in a black Opel opened fire on a group standing where cars were being sold. Five men died and another was wounded, police said.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, Sheik Naif Sabhan Al-Khalaf, a Sunni tribal leader and supporter of the democratic process in Iraq, died in a drive-by shooting Friday outside his home, an Iraqi military official said.

Maj. Gen. Anwar Mohammad Amin said he suspected the same insurgent group that was responsible for the kidnapping of the tribal leader's brother.

Shiites first abducted

Police in the central city of Hilla on Saturday reported the killings of 10 Shiite men, who were kidnapped in western Iraq after returning from a visit to a Muslim shrine in Syria.

The men were abducted a week ago, and their bodies were found in Nikheb, a town near the Syrian border, police said. The bodies were transported to a hospital in Hilla, south of Baghdad in Babil province.

Relatives reportedly told police unknown gunmen stopped the men and claimed they had supplied the U.S. military with information. The gunmen seized the men but promised to release them if they were found innocent, the relatives reportedly said.

U.S. forces have been on the hunt for insurgents in the region, a primarily Sunni Arab area. Sunnis, a minority in Iraq, dominated under Saddam's rule, but Shiites -- with about 60 percent of Iraq's population -- have gained power in the new transitional government.

Other developments

  • Iraqi and Japanese officials confirmed Saturday that captors killed Japanese hostage Akihiko Saito. Saito, 44, who worked for a British security company, was among five foreign workers whom insurgents ambushed in Anbar province west of Baghdad in May. He had been the only one to survive that attack. (Full story)
  • The U.S. Marines said Saturday that at least 14 insurgents have been killed and more than 30 suspects detained in an offensive in the western city of Haditha. On Thursday, a Marine jet dropped a laser-guided bomb on a home being used by insurgents during a firefight, the military said. Two Marines have died during the offensive known as Operation New Market, which started Tuesday.
  • The U.S. military said that an American soldier died Friday after being wounded the day before in a roadside bombing near Diyara, west of Baghdad. The number of U.S. troop deaths in the Iraq war stands at 1,655.
  • CNN's Arwa Damon and Mohammad Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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