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Lawyer for Hussein co-defendant kidnapped

Violence around Iraq kills 20; kidnapped journalist freed

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An attorney for a co-defendant of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was abducted Thursday after five gunmen stormed his office, an Iraqi police official said.

Sadoon al-Janabi was taken from his northern Baghdad office at 8:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. ET) by men in two white Nissan pickup trucks, an official with Baghdad's emergency police told CNN.

Al-Janabi represents Awad Hamad al-Bandar, former chief judge of Hussein's Revolutionary Court. Bandar is accused of having sentenced to death 143 residents of Dujail after a failed attempt on Hussein's life there.

Bandar was seated next to the ousted leader during the first day of their trial Wednesday. Hussein is among eight people being tried on charges related to those killings. (Full story)

News of al-Janabi's kidnapping coincided with the announcement by London's Guardian newspaper that kidnappers had freed its Baghdad correspondent, Rory Carroll, 33, who was abducted Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Iraq, insurgent shootings, suicide bombings and mortar attacks have killed at least 20 people since Wednesday night, Iraqi police said.

A mortar round landed inside a neighborhood elementary school Thursday morning in the al-Mansur district of Baghdad, killing a student and two adults. The attack wounded five other students.

Gunmen dressed as Iraqi policemen kidnapped the head of a concrete company elsewhere in the same district.

In the city's al-Dura section, an Iraqi intelligence officer and another person were killed Wednesday in a drive-by shooting. Two others in the car were wounded.

Gunmen opened fire on a car in the al-Sydiya neighborhood Wednesday night, killing three Baghdad International Airport employees on their way home from work.

At about the same time, gunmen in an Opel fired on Sunni worshippers as they were leaving the al-Hamid mosque in Baghdad, killing three elderly men.

A suicide car bomb killed four civilians and wounded 14 others outside the governor's office Thursday in Baquba, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Baghdad in Diyala province, emergency police said.

At the same time, the U.S. military reported a bomb slightly wounded a soldier outside a government building in Baquba. It was unclear whether the two reports covered the same incident.

In Khalis, nine miles (15 kilometers) northwest of Baquba, a suicide car bomb killed a police officer and wounded eight others about 1:30 Thursday afternoon at a major intersection checkpoint.

A few minutes earlier, a suicide car bomb killed four people and wounded 13 others across the street from the governor's compound in downtown Diyala, according to the U.S. military.

The attack targeted a coalition convoy traveling to the compound, the military said. Three of the wounded were Iraqi police and the other casualties were civilians.

Voter turnout

Iraqi election officials announced Thursday that voter turnout in Saturday's constitutional referendum was above 50 percent in 16 of the country's 18 provinces.

They were: Babil, 72 percent; Basra, 63 percent; Duhuk, 85 percent; Diyala, 66 percent; Irbil, 90 percent; Karbala, 58 percent; Maysan, 57 percent; Muthanna, 58 percent; Najaf, 56 percent; Nineveh, 58 percent; Qadisiya, 56 percent; Salaheddin, 88 percent; Sulaimaniya, 75 percent; Kirkuk, 79 percent; Thiqar, 54 percent; and Wasit, 54 percent.

Results for Baghdad and Anbar provinces were not yet available, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq said.

All count sheets have now been delivered to the tally center and the commission is verifying their authenticity

About 8.4 million people voted in the January 30 election of the transitional National Assembly. That was about 60 percent of registered voters.

So far, the commission has received about 80 complaints was investigating them, a statement said.

The most common was that people had difficulty finding their names on the voter list because it was not in alphabetical order.

Other developments

  • Three U.S. soldiers with Task Force Liberty were killed and one was wounded Wednesday night when their combat patrol struck a roadside bomb near the Iraqi city of Balad, the military said. A suicide car bomb killed a Marine from the 2nd Expeditionary Force Wednesday in Karabila, which is in Anbar province near the Syrian border. The deaths brought the number of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq to 1,985.
  • Iraqi army forces have captured Saddam Hussein's nephew, who is accused of funneling money from the ousted leader's family in Arab countries outside Iraq to insurgents inside the country, the interior minister said Thursday.
  • The U.S. military said Thursday it had killed a senior aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi during a series of coalition raids in western Iraq five days ago. A military news release said Sa'ad Ali Firas was a military leader in al-Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq group and participated in attacks in Ramadi and Falluja.
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