Iraq: Partial Cabinet approved as attacks kill at least five
Iraq's National Assembly approved a partial Cabinet on Thursday. But disputes remained over key ministry positions and two deputy prime minister posts.
The lawmakers approved a list of 27 ministers and five acting ministers. The Cabinet was approved by 180 legislators out of the 185 present in the 275-member parliament, Speaker Hajim al-Hassani declared.
Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim al-Jaafari will be acting defense minister, a position that was supposed to go to a Sunni Arab, and disputes remained over two deputy prime minister slots and the defense, oil, electricity, industry and human rights ministries.
Ahmad Chalabi, a former Pentagon favorite, will be one of four deputy prime ministers and acting oil minister. Kurdish official and former Vice President Rowsch Nouri Shaways will be another deputy and acting electricity minister.
Shiite leaders rejected al-Jaafari's initial choices for a Sunni deputy prime minister and defense minister because of suspicions they had ties to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, The AP reported.
In new attacks Thursday, gunmen fired at least six mortar rounds toward a U.S. military base Musayyib, 40 miles south of Baghdad, but hit a nearby bus station instead, killing four Iraqis and wounding 21, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.
In another attack Thursday, a suicide car bomb went off near an Iraqi army checkpoint, wounding four Iraqi soldiers, three U.S. soldiers and seven Iraqi civilians, the U.S. military said. The attack took place outside Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad, said U.S. Maj. Richard Goldenberg.
In the capital, Lt. Col. Alaa Khalil Ibrahim, who worked in the visa section of the Interior Ministry, was shot dead on the way to work by gunmen in an eastern Baghdad neighborhood, police said.