Eight dead in series of attacks across Iraq

Tuesday 20 June 2006 20.01
Eight dead in series of attacks across Iraq

At least eight people have been killed in a series of attacks across Iraq, five of them in bombings in Baghdad.

Two people were killed and 28 wounded in a bombing at a  second-hand clothes market in central Baghdad.

The market, off al-Tayaran Square on the east bank of the Tigris River, was packed with shoppers when the bomb went off.

In west Baghdad, three people were killed and 19 wounded in a car bombing in the Jamilia neighbourhood, and three people were injured in another blast in the southern Saydiyah area.

The attacks come amid a continued security clampdown in Baghdad which involves up to 40,000 troops.

South of the capital, a roadside bomb targeting a US military patrol killed one civilian and wounded four in the town of al-Kifl.

In the British-patrolled southern city of Amara, an Iraqi police officer was killed by masked gunmen on motorbikes.

And in the main southern city of Basra, a suicide bomb attack left one woman dead and three others injured.

Meanwhile, in Baquba, 15 Iraqis working in poultry farms were killed during overnight US raids.

The workers had been sleeping in the fields of Bushaheen village in an area known as al-Salam, some 90km northeast of the capital.

A US military spokesman has acknowledged there was an incident in the area, but refused to give details, saying the raids were part of an ongoing campaign against al-Qaeda militants.

Japan pulls out

Meanwhile, Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has announced that he will withdraw troops from Iraq, ending the Japanese military's riskiest and most ambitious overseas mission since World War II.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said yesterday his forces would take over security from July in the southern province of Muthanna, where the British oversee a multinational contingent that includes Japanese troops.

Japan's troop dispatch - a symbol of Tokyo's willingness to put 'boots on the ground' for its close ally, the US, and to take a bigger global security role - won praise from Washington.

But it was opposed by many at home including critics who said the dispatch violated Japan's pacifist constitution.

Bodies of US soldiers found

The bodies of two US soldiers missing in Iraq have been found, the spokesman for Iraq's Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.

'The two soldiers were killed and they were found in Yusufiya near an electricity plant,' Major General Abdul Aziz Mohammed told a news conference in Baghdad.

He did not say when the soldiers were killed or when their bodies were found.

The soldiers went missing on Friday after insurgents attacked their checkpoint near Yusufiya, an al-Qaeda stronghold south of Baghdad.

A group linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq said on Monday it had abducted two US soldiers near Yusufiya.