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Iraq Transition

Iraq violence continues ahead of religious festival

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Thirteen people, including a U.S. soldier, were killed over a 24-hour period in scattered attacks across Iraq, and 14 bodies showing signs of torture were found around the capital.

A roadside bomb exploded Friday in central Baghdad, killing three people, including a mother and child, and wounding six, three of them police officers, Iraqi emergency police said.

The attack appeared to target a police commander's convoy, a police official said.

The American soldier died when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb while traveling south of Baghdad.

The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq stands at 2,660 since the 2003 invasion. Seven American civilian contractors of the military also have died in the conflict.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said it is investigating a fatal accident Friday involving a American-led coalition convoy in Baghdad. An Iraqi civilian was killed, and a child was injured, the military said.

The bodies found Friday throughout Baghdad had their hands bound and appeared to have been tortured, police said. Such deaths are often considered signs of sectarian retribution.

Also Friday, gunmen killed three people in two incidents in Baquba, north of Baghdad, police said.

Additionally, gunmen killed a Sunni tribal chief and two local council members near Hawija in northern Iraq, according to police in Kirkuk.

In Musayyib, south of Baghdad, mortar fire killed two Shiite pilgrims Thursday night as they were heading to nearby Karbala, a city considered holy by Shiites. Another 19 were wounded.

Tens of thousands of people were expected in Karbala for a religious festival Saturday, raising concerns that insurgents may use the event to target Shiite pilgrims.

Last week, 14 South Asian pilgrims were killed in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, in a Sunni region of the country.

Other developments

  • Iraq's government on Friday defended its closing of Al-Arabiya television's Baghdad bureau, calling it a voice for al Qaeda and accusing it of "sectarian" reporting, Reuters reported. A spokesman for the pan-Arab satellite network, Nasser al-Sarami, said its reporters adhered to objective reporting and that Iraq had not revealed which story prompted the ban, according to Reuters.
  • An audiotape aired Thursday on Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera that reportedly broadcast the voice of al Qaeda in Iraq's new leader, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, urging all mujahedeen to unite on the battlefield. (Full story)
  • Iranian border guards attacked an Iraqi border station in Mandali, east of Baquba, on Wednesday and Thursday, an Iraqi border guard official said Friday. Iranian guards on Thursday captured six Iraqi soldiers, including a lieutenant, and confiscated their Humvee and weapons, the border official said. Iraq is investigating.
  • Security forces found two or three "torture chambers" a few months ago in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Turner said Friday. Officials suspect these facilities were used for sectarian violence, he said.
  • A British soldier injured in a "shooting incident" north of the southern city of Basra died Thursday, the British defense ministry said Friday. The number of British military fatalities in the Iraq war stands at 118.
  • CNN's Jomana Karadsheh and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.



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