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Iraq Transition

General: Insurgents used kids as cover, then killed them

Story Highlights

• Insurgents blew up car with kids inside, general said
• Six civilians, one police officer killed in attacks across Iraq
Two journalists killed in Baghdad recently, group reports
• Car bomb kills five people outside police station in Baghdad
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi insurgents used two children as cover to get through a checkpoint in Baghdad and then blew up the car while the kids were still inside, a U.S. general said Tuesday.

The car went through a checkpoint Sunday and parked by a market across the street from a school, said Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations in the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Two adults jumped from the car, leaving the children in the back. Moments later, the car exploded, witnesses said. (Watch Barbero describe how insurgents are interested only in slaughter Video)

The two children and three bystanders died in the blast, and seven others were hurt, Pentagon officials said.

The attack raises fresh concerns about insurgents using children to throw off troops, Barbero said.

"Children in the back seat lower suspicion. We let it move through," he said.

A U.N. report released in January 2006 highlighted insurgents' use of children as suicide bombers in Iraq.

Health officials also say the daily hardships -- bomb blasts, gunfire, killings of family members and sectarian violence -- are taking an increasing mental and physical toll on Iraq's children. (Full story)

Bombs, battles and mortar fire

Six people, including one police officer, were killed during attacks in and around Baghdad on Wednesday.

A police officer was killed and three others wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in eastern Baghdad's Beirut Square.

A roadside bomb also killed two civilians and wounded three police officers in eastern Baghdad's Zayuna neighborhood.

About 32 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of the capital, mortar rounds landed in a residential area of Wasit province, killing three people and wounding nine others.

In Ramadi, another civilian was killed and five others wounded when insurgents detonated a bomb while 500 police officers were conducting house-to-house searches in the volatile capital of Anbar province.

More than 45 suspected insurgents were detained during the 10-hour operation, and police seized weapons and propaganda materials.

Also in Anbar on Wednesday, near the city of Amiriya, U.S. Marines and local police fought insurgents for five hours in the area where a chlorine-filled truck was detonated Saturday. Eight insurgents were killed and five were wounded, the U.S. military said.

The fighting began after police saw "sporadic enemy mortar fire" in the area.

"Amiriya police then received sporadic enemy fire from an unknown number of [al Qaeda in Iraq fighters]. The police positively identified the enemy gunfire and returned fire, killing two members of AQI and wounding five," the military said in a statement. Five police were wounded and treated at a hospital.

"Enemy fire continued sporadically throughout midday when supporting fixed wing aircraft engaged approximately 20 AQI with guided munitions and strafing fire. Six AQI were killed and their vehicles destroyed as a result," the statement said.

Near Taji, north of Baghdad, coalition forces killed five insurgents after entering "target buildings," according to the military. A bomb-making factory was destroyed and three insurgents were detained.

An explosives factory found in an adjacent building contained "large caliber ammunition and explosive manufacturing materials including numerous 50-gallon barrels of explosive material." An airstrike destroyed the factory.

Two Iraqi journalists killed

Two Iraqi journalists have been slain recently by armed groups in Baghdad, an international media watchdog group reported Tuesday.

The group -- Reporters Without Borders -- said 155 media staffers have been killed in Iraq since the war began four years ago.

Hamid al-Duleimi, a producer on the TV channel al-Nahrain, was found dead Monday in the Baghdad morgue after he was abducted Saturday as he left the station.

"Autopsy reports revealed that the journalist had been tortured. Two other employees of the channel were killed in May 2006 after being stopped at a fake military roadblock in the Iraqi capital," the group said.

Hussein al Jaburi, editor of the daily al-Safir, died from injuries Friday in a hospital in Amman, Jordan, Reporters Without Borders said. He was being treated after an ambush February 11 outside his house in Baghdad.

Reporters Without Borders and another media watchdog group, Committee to Protect Journalists, reported a commentator on Radio Dijla, Karim Manhal, was kidnapped outside the radio station in Baghdad with his driver, Thamir Sabri. The incident took place Saturday, the committee said. There has been no word of their whereabouts.

Other developments

  • Police reported Wednesday that 32 slain bodies were found across the capital Tuesday.
  • Taha Yassin Ramadan, the former vice president under Saddam Hussein, was hanged just before dawn Tuesday, according to a source close to Iraq's High Tribunal. Last month, Ramadan was sentenced to death by the Iraqi court for his role in the 1982 killings of 148 men and boys in Dujail. An appeals court upheld the sentence last week.
  • CNN's Ed Henry and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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    A U.S. soldier tosses a ball to Iraqi children Wednesday. The U.N. says insurgents are using children as suicide bombers.

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