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Insurgents killed while rigging truck with explosives

Story Highlights

• Insurgents die rigging explosives on a truck in a northern Sunni town
• At least 20 people killed, including police and civilians, in other violence in Iraq
• Iran reportedly eyes new talks with U.S.; U.S. envoy says no meeting set
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Fourteen insurgents were killed Wednesday in northern Iraq while trying to rig a truck with explosives, police in Tikrit said.

The explosives detonated in Shirqat, a Sunni town in Salaheddin province. When police arrived, they found people collecting body parts of the insurgents.

In other violence Wednesday, seven people were killed and 15 were wounded when a car bomb exploded in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said.

The bomb detonated Wednesday evening near Abdul Muhsin al-Kadhimi Square in Kadhimiya.

Insurgents also went on the attack in Baghdad and another Salaheddin town, Samarra. Eleven people were killed in those attacks, and two people were killed by police after one of the attacks.

In one attack, five Iraqi national police officers died when a roadside bomb struck their patrol in central Samarra's Ajbariya neighborhood around midday Wednesday, Samarra police Capt. Yousif Mohammed Ali said. Two people were shot to death and two others wounded when police began shooting in angry reaction to the bomb blast, he said.

Samarra is a predominantly Sunni town about 66 miles (110 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

Market bombing kills civilians

In Baghdad, five civilians died when a bomb hidden under a parked car exploded in an outdoor market in the northern Sulekh Sunni neighborhood, an official said. Ten people were wounded by the blast.

Also Wednesday, an Iraqi national police officer was killed in a suicide car bombing at a police checkpoint near the Jadriya Bridge in southern Baghdad, police said.

Four other officers were wounded.

A roadside bomb wounded four people when it exploded near Kindi Hospital in northeastern Baghdad, the official said. A U.S. military convoy was passing by when the bomb detonated, but the blast missed the Americans.

'International terrorists' killed, U.S. says

The U.S. military said it has determined that two insurgents killed during an operation in northern Iraq were "very significant international terrorists."

The operation took place Saturday in Hawija, near Kirkuk in Tameem province, the military said in a statement Wednesday.

The military described Mehmet Yilmaz, also known as Khalid al-Turki, as "a known terrorist and senior leader in al Qaeda who operated a cell that facilitated the movement of foreign fighters into Iraq for al Qaeda operations."

The other slain insurgent was Mehmet Resit Isik, also known as Khalil al-Turki, the military said. He was described as "a close associate of Yilmaz who was assessed to be a courier for the same al Qaeda cell and a close associate of Yilmaz and senior leaders within al Qaeda."

Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a military spokesman, added, "These are two very dangerous, very significant international terrorists that are no longer part of the al Qaeda network."

New round of U.S.-Iran talks?

Iran is studying the possibility of another round of talks with the United States about Iraq, an Iranian diplomat said Wednesday, but an American envoy said another meeting has not been scheduled.

Iraqi officials have requested more talks between the United States and Iran, Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported Wednesday, quoting Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

"Iraqi officials have made the request. We have stressed we will examine their request with a positive view after the U.S. responds to the request," Mottaki told IRNA after a visit from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Iranian and U.S. envoys to Iraq participated in the first round of talks in May in Baghdad. Tehran and Washington do not have diplomatic relations.

At a news conference in Baghdad on Wednesday, Ambassador Daniel Speckhard, charge d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy, said: "We do not yet have another meeting scheduled for that dialogue with Iraq and Iran."

The Bush administration has been hammering home its contention that Iranian elements are aiding insurgents in Iraq, mostly Shiites, but even some Sunnis.

These elements are said to be affiliated with the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, but the administration hasn't provided evidence that the central government is directing or has approved such activity.

Other developments

  • Twenty-one bullet-riddled bodies were found Wednesday across Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said. The number of slain bodies found this month in the Iraqi capital stands at 525, part of the sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites.
  • CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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