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Iraqi judge killed, suicide attack claims seven

April deadliest month for US in Iraq since 2009
Baghdad (AFP) April 30, 2011 - The killing on Friday of an American soldier made April the deadliest month for US forces in Iraq since 2009, according to figures compiled by AFP.

The soldier "was killed April 29 while conducting operations in southern Iraq," a US military statement released on Saturday said, without giving further details.

The death brought to 11 the number of US troops to die in Iraq in April, according to an AFP tally based on data compiled by independent website

That is the highest monthly toll since November 2009, when 11 soldiers also died, starkly highlighting the risks American soldiers still face even after combat operations were officially declared over last summer.

Of the remainder of April's 11 killed, six died in "non-hostile" incidents, two were killed by a roadside bomb in Numaniyah, Wasit province, and two died in separate mortar attacks in Baghdad and Babil provinces.

Also on Saturday, the US army's Contingency Operating Site Echo in the southern province of Diwaniyah was hit by a rocket attack, while an American military convoy near the Shiite holy city of Najaf was targetted, Sergeant Elvis Umanzor said.

No further details were available regarding either incident.

Around 45,000 US soldiers still remain stationed in Iraq. While they are primarily charged with training and equipping their local counterparts, they can return fire in self-defence and still take part in joint counter-terror operations with Iraqi forces.

Friday's death also brings to 4,452 the number of American troops to have died in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, according to the AFP tally.

by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) April 30, 2011
Insurgents bombed an Iraqi judge's home, killing him and at least one of his children on Saturday, while a suicide blast in the north of the country killed seven people, including four soldiers.

Nationwide violence left at least 13 people dead, including an industry ministry official, in a third consecutive day of double-digit fatalities just months before a deadline for US forces to withdraw from Iraq completely.

In the deadliest incident, a suicide bomber blew himself up close to a passing army patrol, killing at least seven people, including four soldiers, security and medical officials said.

Another 15 people were wounded, two of them soldiers, in the attack at the entrance to a popular market in the main northern city of Mosul at 7:30 pm (1630 GMT), a security official and a doctor at Mosul's main hospital said

Earlier on Saturday, Judge Tuama al-Tamimi and one of his children were killed when insurgents planted bombs around Tamimi's home in the town of Taji, 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of Baghdad, and blew it up.

There were conflicting reports on whether any of Tamimi's other relatives also died in the blast. One of the judge's bodyguards was shot dead earlier.

"The judge was killed along with his wife and daughter," police Captain Ahmed Fahd al-Khalidi told AFP. "The insurgents put jerry cans of explosive materials in two or three locations around his house and blew it up at around 5:00 am (0200 GMT)."

"The house collapsed," he added.

Judicial spokesman Abdelsattar Birakdar told AFP Tamimi was killed along with three of his children, with the judge's wife and another child being treated in hospital.

Near the judge's home, gunmen also entered the house of one of Tamimi's police bodyguards early on Saturday and shot him dead, an interior ministry official said.

Judges in Iraq have frequently been targeted by insurgents for assassination, and many have bodyguards.

Also in Taji, gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms stormed the home of an industry ministry official and killed him and his daughter, the interior ministry official said.

On hearing the attack, neighbours came out of their homes and clashes ensued with the attackers, leaving one insurgent dead and two civilians wounded. The remaining gunmen managed to flee the scene.

And in Baghdad, army Colonel Mustafa Hassan was shot dead by gunmen using silenced pistols while in his car along a main road in the centre of the capital, according to the interior ministry official.

Hassan's wife and two policemen were wounded when the car he was driving careened out of control into a nearby checkpoint. The gunmen managed to flee the scene.

The killings of Tamimi, Hassan and the industry ministry official were the latest in an apparent trend of targeting senior Iraqi officials, in a spate of attacks that have been blamed on Al-Qaeda.

Four other officials have been killed in less than two weeks, and at least three have narrowly escaped being murdered.

The Islamic State of Iraq, Al-Qaeda's front group in the country, posted a statement on the Internet jihadist forum Honein last week, claiming to have carried out 62 "operations" between the start of March and April 5.

Meanwhile, the killing on Friday of an American soldier made April the deadliest month for US forces in Iraq since 2009, according to figures compiled by AFP.

The death brought to 11 the number of US troops to die in Iraq in April, according to an AFP tally based on data compiled by independent website

That is the highest monthly toll since November 2009, when 11 soldiers also died, starkly highlighting the risks American soldiers still face even after combat operations were officially declared over last summer.

earlier related report
Iraqi MPs approve payouts for Saddam's US victims
Baghdad (AFP) April 30, 2011 - Iraqi MPs okayed a $400-million (270 million euro) compensation deal on Saturday for Americans who say they were mistreated by executed dictator Saddam Hussein's regime during the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

A total of 226 lawmakers were in the Council of Representatives' main chamber, with a majority approving the agreement, which was originally signed between Baghdad and Washington in September.

MPs loyal to radical anti-US Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr walked out of parliament when the issue was put to a vote, however.

Iraq's August 2, 1990 assault on neighbouring Kuwait was rapidly met with a concerted international military response that pushed Saddam's forces out of the emirate. Hussein's reign was later ended by a US-led coalition in 2003.

Several US citizens were held by Saddam's regime during the war over Kuwait and used as human shields to deter coalition attacks, with some claiming they were mistreated and tortured by Saddam's forces.

The US embassy welcomed the vote, with spokesman David J. Ranz saying: "This decision represents an important step in our bilateral relationship, and in putting the terrible legacy of the Saddam regime in the past."

The compensation deal is part of efforts to end provisions in force as a result of Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, which regards Iraq as a threat to international security.

In December, the UN Security Council also ended key international sanctions imposed on Baghdad, halting punishing restrictions to prevent the proliferation weapons of mass destruction.

But at the time, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed Iraq must work to agree on a border with Kuwait and settle a dispute over war reparations if all sanctions are to be ended.

Iraq still pays five percent of revenues from its oil sales into a reparations fund for Kuwait.

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