your connection to The Boston Globe

11 are killed in attacks by insurgents

Aide to Zarqawi is confirmed dead, US military says

BAGHDAD -- Car bombs killed 10 people yesterday in Baghdad and elsewhere in central Iraq, while one person died when gunmen opened fire on campaign workers putting up posters in the run-up to next month's parliamentary elections.

Also, the US military said yesterday it has received information that a top aide to the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, was killed last month in Ramadi. Bilal Mahmud Awad Shebah's death was confirmed by a close relative and ''coalition sources," the military said in a statement.

The violence erupted two days before Saddam Hussein's trial resumes after a five-week break.

The first prosecution witnesses are expected to testify before the five-judge panel, offering accounts of the deaths of more than 140 Shi'ite villagers following an assassination attempt against Hussein in the town of Dujail in 1982.

If convicted, Hussein and his seven co-defendants could be sentenced to death by hanging.

Six people were killed and 12 were wounded when a suicide car bomber struck in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, police Lieutenant Colonel Mahmoud Mohammed said.

Four other people died when a car bomb exploded in western Baghdad as two armored cars passed by, according to police Lieutenant Thaer Mahmoud. Nobody in the convoy was injured, but one of the armored cars was damaged and removed by US forces, Mahmoud said. More than 270 people have been killed in car bombings and suicide attacks in Iraq since Nov. 18.

Elsewhere, the US military said an American soldier assigned to the Second Marine Division was killed Friday when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in the city of Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad.

The latest death raised the number of US service members to die since the Iraq war started in March 2003 to at least 2,105, according to an Associated Press count.

US and Iraqi officials have warned of an upsurge in insurgent attacks ahead of the Dec. 15 elections, in which voters will choose the first fully constitutional parliament since Hussein's rule collapsed in April 2003.

American authorities are hoping for a big Sunni Arab turnout, a move that could produce a government that would win the trust of the religious community that forms the backbone of the insurgency.

Many Sunnis boycotted the January election, enabling rival Shi'ites and Kurds to win an overwhelming share of power, and worsening communal tensions. A government trusted by Sunni Arabs could help defuse the insurgency and enable US and other international troops to begin heading home next year.

However, insurgents opposed to the election are expected to step up their campaign of intimidation as the ballot approaches.

Gunmen opened fire yesterday on four people as they plastered campaign posters for the biggest Shi'ite political party on walls in western Baghdad, killing one person and wounding three, police said.

In Mosul, gunmen fired on members of the Iraqi Islamic Party, the country's largest Sunni Arab political movement, while they were putting up campaign posters, wounding one person, police said.

A statement posted on an Islamist website in the name of Al Qaeda in Iraq also claimed responsibility for killing a Kurdish election volunteer in Mosul. The statement said Miqdad Ahmed Sito, 28, was seized in the city's Shifaa neighborhood. A friend of Sito, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for his own safety, said Sito worked for the Organization for Development and Democratic Dialogue, a nongovernmental organization that informs voters about elections and the country's new constitution. His body was found Tuesday in the neighborhood where he was abducted, the friend said.

Al Qaeda has often spoken out against elections, saying that devout Muslims should follow the Muslim holy book, the Koran, as their only formula for governance. Zarqawi has repeatedly threatened Iraqis who participate in elections.

In its statement, the US military said the Zarqawi aide, also known as Abu Ubaydah, was killed Oct. 14 in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad.

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives