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Iraq Transition

Gunmen kill Iraqi police; 3 women abducted

Political groups call for new election


Saddam Hussein

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Gunmen killed four police commandos and wounded six others Thursday morning at an Iraqi police checkpoint in southern Baghdad, police said.

About an hour later, gunmen kidnapped three Iraqi women in southwestern Baghdad. The women, who work in the Green Zone, were abducted when the gunmen stopped their vehicle.

Insurgents often target people perceived as helping the United States. The heavily fortified Green Zone is home to U.S. military headquarters and government ministries and embassies.

On Tuesday, in separate incidents, an Iraqi truck driver was killed and his brother was abducted by gunmen about 15 miles (25 km) southeast of Baquba, an official with Diyala's provincial Joint Coordination Center said.

Political groups reject election results

Representatives from Sunni Arab, Kurdish and secular Shiite Arab groups on Thursday rejected preliminary results of last week's election, claiming fraud and calling for an investigation.

Their umbrella group, called Maram, is calling for new elections. Maram includes entities led by secular Shiites Ayad Allawi and Ahmed Chalabi and Sunni Arab groups, including one led by Saleh al-Mutlag.

The group wants the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq -- which oversaw last week's vote -- to be disbanded and an alternative set up.

If that isn't done, Maram plans to call for nationwide peaceful demonstrations. Reports indicate a boycott of the new Council of Representatives could be in the works.

Maram would pose a challenge in the parliament to the United Iraqi Alliance, which is headed toward victory in last week's parliamentary elections. That alliance includes the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and Dawa, two parties that are religiously oriented.

Other developments

  • A Task Force Baghdad soldier was killed by an explosive during a patrol in Baghdad on Thursday, the U.S. military said. The death brings the number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war to 2,159.
  • The Christmas season prompted surprise visits Thursday to coalition troops in Iraq from a top U.S. Cabinet member and the British and Polish prime ministers. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has arrived in Baghdad, British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited British troops in Basra and Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz met with Polish troops at Camp Echo in Diwaniya. (Blair visit)
  • Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein said at his trial Thursday in Baghdad that the Bush administration lied when it claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and lied when it disputed his claims of being beaten. "The White House lies once more," Hussein said. Meanwhile, defense attorneys requested that the testimony of prosecution witnesses not be broadcast until all the witnesses have testified, saying the witnesses are watching the testimonies of others and repeating them. The court said it would consider that request. (Full story)
  • The Iraqi Electoral Commission reported Wednesday that nearly 70 percent of Iraqis eligible to vote in last week's election did so. Dahuk province, with 86.87 percent voting, had the highest percentage turnout, and Anbar province, with 55.13 percent voting, had the lowest. A total of 10,716,505 valid votes were cast, the commission said, which is 69.97 percent of the eligible voters. (Full story)
  • CNN producer Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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