16 die in Iraq in surge of violence as Ukrainian president visits troops
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday, paying a holiday visit to Ukraine's troops stationed in there ahead of their imminent departure.
Currently, 867 remain in Iraq under Polish command in southern and central Iraq.
Violence, protests continues following elections
In a surge of violence that has hit Iraq in recent days, 16 Iraqis were killed on Monday in a series of attacks across the nation.
Two Iraqi policemen were killed while training outside a police training center in Fallujah when several grenades were thrown at them by suicide bomber who then detonated his explosives belt.
In Baghdad, three other policemen were killed and as well as one civilian when four separate car bombs went off in succession across the nation's capital. 17 people were also wounded in the attacks.
Northeast of Baghdad in the town of Buhriz, five policemen were killed and four wounded when they were attacked at a police checkpoint.
In the village of Dhaba, north of Baghdad, a similar attack left five Iraqi soldiers dead as well.
On Sunday, post-election violence brought the death toll to at least seven as two American soldiers and at least five Iraqis were killed in fresh attacks.
Also on Sunday, an Independent National Elite List candidate was kidnapped by gunmen while he was traveling from Baghdad to the town of Baquba.
Sunni and secular parties have taken to the streets in recent days in various parts of the country to protest the outcome of parliamentary elections, which leave Iraq's government in the hands of Shiite parties, who won power by a narrow margin. Protesters have demanded a rerun to the elections, and threatened to boycott the new parliament.
Many, including residents of Mosul, a city named by US President George W. Bush as an example of progress made in Iraq, have complained of widespread voter fraud.
Prospects of a parliamentary boycott have sparked fear in Washington that future stability in post-Saddam Iraq was unlikely in the near future.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani met with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq to discuss ways to ensure that the new government would be able to maintain control in an inclusive manner despite disagreement over the election.
Talabani urged disenchanted Sunni leaders to join a broad Iraqi coalition in an effort to maintain unity in the country, saying, "Without the Sunni parties there will be no consensus government ... without consensus government there will be no unity, there will be no peace," according to Reuters.
Some Sunni groups, however, have reportedly held negotiations to build a governing coalition based on election results.
Protests have sparked a wave of violence since the relatively peaceful elections. In the town of Mosul in northern Iraq, a Sunni student who had led a protest against election results was kidnapped and killed.
Al Qaeda's wing in Iraq announced on Sunday that it had executed four Arabs, including three women, who they claimed worked for the US and the US-backed Iraqi government.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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