Security push set to start in Baghdad as at least 29 dead
Three car bombs and mortar attacks killed at least 29 people and injured scores in Baghdad on Monday.
In the worst blast on Monday, a car bomb targeting a petrol station in the southern neighborhood of Saidiya killed 10 people and injured 62, while eight people were killed and 40 wounded when a car bomb exploded in a garage. A car bomb went off near a childrens' hospital in Andalus square in central Baghdad, killing six and wounding nine.
Two people died in the Iraqi capital early Monday when a mortar round hit a central neighborhood and a bomb hidden in trash went off on the city's east side, police reported.
Elsewhere, two key members of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's political and military organization were shot dead. Ali Khazim, who ran al-Sadr's political organization in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, died Sunday by American forces at his home in Howaider village, 12 miles east of Baqouba, Saleh al-Ageili, a spokesman for the Sadr Movement's parliamentary bloc, said on Monday, according to the AP.
The second official, Khalil al-Maliki, a key figure in al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia in Basra, was killed by three gunmen in a drive-by shooting on Sunday in the southern city of Basra, police reported.
In an early morning attack in Mosul, the deputy governor of Nineveh province was injured along with three bodyguards when their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb, said Hisham al-Hamdani, chief of the provincial security committee.
Meanwhile, the general who will lead Iraqi forces in the coming security crackdown in Baghdad took charge Monday, and a senior U.S. military official said the joint operation with American forces to curb violence would start "very soon thereafter."
With the imminent security push in Baghdad, the U.S. military confirmed that Lt. Gen. Abboud Gambar would lead the operation in Baghdad. Gambar will have two Iraqi deputies, one on each side of the Tigris River that splits Baghdad north to south. The city was to be divided into nine districts, and there were to be as many as 600 U.S. forces in each district to back up Iraqi troops who will take the lead in the security drive.
It will be the third attempt to restore calm since al-Maliki took office nearly nine months ago.