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Iraqi boy, police officers killed in separate attacks

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Violence in Baghdad leaves five Iraqi police officers dead
  • NEW: Civilians were caught in the crossfire of a clash near a mosque, killing a 7-year-old boy
  • A member of a Sunni paramilitary force that turned on al Qaeda was also killed
  • The attacks come as the United States prepares to draw back troops
RELATED TOPICS
  • Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Clashes erupted throughout Iraq on Saturday between gunmen and state security forces, killing five police officers, a local Awakening Council member and a 7-year-old boy, authorities said.

The violence comes as U.S. forces continue a drawdown in Iraq. President Barack Obama said last week that plans to reduce the total number of American troops in Iraq to 50,000 by the end of this month are on track. At that point, the U.S. military mission will shift to training and supporting Iraqi security forces and U.S. diplomats.

In the al-Qadisiya neighborhood in eastern Mosul, at least 15 gunmen fought with police late on Saturday, police said. Civilians were caught in the crossfire as they left a mosque. A 7-year-old boy was killed. His father was wounded, while three others were injured in the clash, including two police officers.

Five of the attackers were arrested by Iraqi security forces, which also confiscated two vehicles, police said.

Mosul is located in the Nineveh province, about 420 kilometers north of Baghdad.

In a separate incident in Baghdad, gunmen opened fire on an Iraqi police patrol, killing one officer and wounding two others, police told CNN. The incident occurred in the Ghazaliya neighborhood in western Baghdad.

Police also reported four officers and a local Awakening Council member were assassinated in Baghdad neighborhoods on Saturday.

In the al-Niaria neighborhood in southeastern Baghdad, gunmen approached a security checkpoint and shot dead two national police officers using silenced pistols, police said. The attackers then carried the two bodies, placed them in a police vehicle and set it on fire.

Two other officers were shot and killed in the al-Amil neighborhood in southwestern Baghdad by gunmen with silenced pistols, police said.

In the al-Basatin neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad, gunmen approached a checkpoint manned by local Awakening Council members, killing one and wounding two others.

The Awakening Council is a Sunni paramilitary force largely made up of former Sunni insurgents who turned on al Qaeda in Iraq. The force is credited with being a key factor in the drop in violence across the country, and has been frequently targeted by al Qaeda in Iraq bombings and assassinations.

In the al-Amil neighborhood in southwestern Baghdad, a sticky bomb attached to a civilian car exploded at an Iraqi police checkpoint and wounded two people, including one police officer.

In Samarra, about 100 km north of Baghdad, six Iraqi police officers were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded at a police patrol Saturday morning, authorities said.

In light of the scheduled drawdown of U.S. support, critics have questioned whether Iraqi security forces are ready to handle control of the country.

Iraqi politicians have been unable to form a government more than five months after the country's inconclusive national elections.

Concerns have surfaced that insurgents could take advantage of the political vacuum to try to reignite the sectarian bloodshed that gripped Iraq for years.

 
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