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33 Iraqis and 3 US troops killed

BAGHDAD -- A string of insurgent attacks across Iraq yesterday killed at least 33 Iraqis and three members of the US military, authorities said, in one of the bloodiest days since the country's election a week ago.

Meanwhile, the translator for journalist Giuliana Sgrena of Italy -- seized by gunmen Friday near Baghdad -- described the ordeal. Police questioned the translator as well as Sgrena's driver yesterday but said the two were not suspects in her abduction.

The surge in violence followed a relative lull after the vote.

A US Marine was killed yesterday during ''security and stability operations" in Bail Province, south of Baghdad, the US command said. Two US soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing late Friday near the town of Beiji, about 155 miles north of Baghdad.

A roadside bomb killed four Iraqi National Guardsmen early yesterday in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city. Gunmen stormed a police station in the northern city of Mosul, killing five officers, police said.

The brother of Mosul's police chief was kidnapped yesterday, police said, three days after the official, General Mohammed Ahmed al-Jubouri, threatened to destroy rebel sanctuaries if insurgents did not surrender their weapons within two weeks. Jubouri said last night that his brother was freed in a raid that netted nine of the kidnappers.

Elsewhere, insurgents assassinated a member of the Baghdad City Council, Abbas Hasan Waheed, and a member of Iraq's intelligence service in two drive-by shootings.

Bombs and clashes killed seven Iraqis in Samarra and Tal Afar, north of Baghdad, and in Ramadi, to the west.

Eight bodies were found in Anbar Province, five in Ramadi, and three in the town of Baghdadi. Residents said they were thought to be Iraqis who worked for the Americans or Iraqi security services.

The Ansar al-Sunnah Army posted a video on an Islamist website yesterday showing seven people being shot. The group said the seven were Iraqi National Guardsmen captured two days ago in an ambush west of Baghdad.

Sgrena, 56, was kidnapped near a Baghdad University compound. A website posting in the name of the Islamic Jihad Organization claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but Italian officials said they were not convinced that the statement was genuine.

Sgrena's translator spoke to the Associated Press yesterday but requested anonymity because of fears for his own safety.

The translator said Sgrena had spent more than three hours in the Moustafa mosque compound, interviewing refugees who escaped a US-led assault on Fallujah last year.

After a final interview with the mosque's imam, Sgrena, her translator, and driver drove out of the Baghdad University compound, where the mosque is located.

Outside, the translator saw two cars, with eight men inside. Sgrena's vehicle was blocked. A gunman opened the door next to Sgrena as Kalashnikov-toting men poured out of the cars.

''I opened my door and dragged Giuliana away, but the man hit me with the butt of his pistol on my back," the translator said. ''The rest of the men came and dragged her away. She didn't resist. . . . She just said: 'What happened? What do you want?' "

''She was very scared." But Sgrena did not cry for help, he said. ''She was a calm person."

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