Suicide bombers killed 13 people in a pair of attacks Monday around the Sunni city of Ramadi. In all, at least 68 people were killed or found dead nationwide Monday, police said. They included the bullet-riddled bodies of 30 men found in Baghdad, the AP reported.
All but two were found in west Baghdad, including 17 in the Amil neighborhood where Sunni politicians have complained of renewed attacks by Shiite militiamen, said a police official.
In a Web statement Monday, an al-Qaeda front organization, the Islamic State of Iraq, warned Sunnis against joining the government security forces. "We tell every father, mother, wife or brother who does not want to lose a relative to advise them not to approach the apostates and we swear to God that we will use every possible means to strike at the infidels and the renegades," the group said.
The Islamic State also claimed responsibility Monday for attacks that killed 34 people over the weekend, including six American troops and a Russian embedded photojournalist who died in a roadside bombing in Baqouba.
The 34 also included the police chief of Samarra, Col. Jalil Nahi Hassoun, who was killed Sunday in an attack on police headquarters.
At least five al-Qaeda fighters were killed in the fighting in Samarra, a U.S. military official told The Associated Press.
Late Monday, the Islamic State of Iraq said it had captured five Iraqi army officers and four policemen in Diyala province and threatened to execute them unless authorities freed Sunni women held in Iraqi prisons and turned over "all those who killed our people" in the northern city of Tal Afar. No deadline was given.
Also Monday, the U.S. military announced a U.S. soldier was killed by small-arms fire in western Baghdad the day before, bringing to nine the number of American personnel slain Sunday.
The security situation was the main topic in talks between Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Bush, who conferred Monday in a video conference. Al-Maliki told Bush of the need to maintain cooperation between U.S. and Iraqi forces as they continue their campaign to end the chaos and violence in Baghdad, the prime minister's office said in a statement.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush and al-Maliki spoke about the Iraqi leader's push for political reconciliation, which is considered vital to bring stability. The two leaders spoke for about 25 minutes with staff members in attendance, then for another period of time one-on-one, Snow said.