Shootings, bombings, kill at least 28 across Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Bombings and shootings across Iraq killed at least 28 people on Tuesday, including four students and a doctor. In Balad, the scene of sectarian fighting that has killed close to 100 people, U.S. troops aided Iraqi security forces struggling to contain the bloodshed.
October was shaping up as one of the country's deadlier months. According to an Associated Press count, 708 Iraqis have been reported killed in war-related violence this month, or just over 44 a day, compared to a daily average of more than 27 since the AP began tracking deaths in April 2005.
U.S. deaths were also running high. Seven American troops died in fighting over the weekend, raising the U.S. toll to 58 killed in the first two weeks of October, a pace that if continued would make the month the worst for coalition forces since January 2005.
Ten people were killed a spate of shootings in the southern, predominantly Shiite city of Basra. Unidentified gunmen in police and civilian cars opened fire on the victims, who included four students shot on campus and a well-known doctor killed on her way to work, Basra police said.
In Karmah, west of Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed five Iraqi soldiers as their convoy passed through the town, police Lt. Ahmed Ali said.
Gunmen stormed into the house of a Shiite family in Balad Ruz, northeast of Baghdad, killing a woman and her four grown sons, provincial police said.
Two policemen in a patrol car were killed by gunmen in a passing car in the western city of Falluja, police said.
In the northern city of Mosul, gunmen killed a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of two main Kurdish political parties, police Brig. Saed Ahmed said. Gunmen approached by car and fired at Fatah Hurki as he stood in front of his home, Ahmed said.
Also in the heavily Kurdish north, two suicide car bombers blew themselves up in a botched attack near the police academy in Kirkuk, police Brig. Sarhat Qadir said. There were no reports of other casualties in the attack.
A suicide bomber attacked a Kurdish girls' high school in Kirkuk on Sunday, one of several attacks that killed at least 10 people in the ethnically mixed city.
Unidentified gunmen attacked an electrical facility in the town of Hillah, south of Baghdad, killing a technician.
Elsewhere in Hillah, gunmen raided a house of a merchant and kidnapped one of his sons, police Capt. Mothana Khalid Ali said.
In Baghdad, two people, including a policeman, were killed in a mortar attack on the downtown Ilwiyah neighborhood.
The blindfolded and bound bodies of two unidentified men were found dumped in west Baghdad early Tuesday, Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq said. Abdul-Razaq said the men had been shot in the head and their bodies showed signs of torture -- a calling card of roving sectarian death squads blamed for nightly killings and abductions.
The fighting in Balad, a town near a major U.S. air base an hour's drive north of the capital, began Friday with the slaying of 17 Shiite Muslim workers. Revenge-seeking Shiite death squads then killed 74 Sunnis, causing people to flee across the Tigris River to the nearby Sunni-dominated city of Duluiyah.
U.S. forces have kept a low-profile in the fighting, in which local police units have reportedly joined with Shiite militiamen to attack Sunnis.
American spokesmen have said only that U.S. forces were units were "partnering with" Iraqi police and army units operating around Balad and providing "quick reaction assets" to the Iraqi police and army.
The situation in the area was unclear on Tuesday and witnesses said Balad was largely blocked off by security forces.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)