all that happens in Iraq. We appeal UN to intervene and take charge instead of colonizing troops of US and UK.
Associated France Press 28/8/2006
Iraqi forces clash with militia as bomb hits ministry
DIWANIYAH, Iraq (AFP) - Iraq's hard-pressed security forces fought fierce street battles with a rogue Shiite militia in this central town amid a massive surge in insurgent violence across the war-torn country.
The clashes in Diwaniyah -- which cost the lives of at least six civilians and 10 soldiers -- came as a suicide car bomber struck the interior ministry in Baghdad, killing 14 people and injuring 45 on Monday.
The bombing came as Interior Minister Jawad Bolani was to hold a meeting with police chiefs, and capped a torrid 24 hours of carnage in which more than 60 Iraqis and seven American soldiers had already been killed.
In Diwaniyah security forces were trying to negotiate a ceasefire after a night of fighting with Shiite militiamen, an Iraqi army captain said.
"At least 16 people were killed in the clashes. A lot of militiamen have also died but we have no details on their casualties," he told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that 10 soldiers were among the dead.
Shiite guerrilla fighters were gathering in Diwaniyah and spoiling for a fight after one of their leaders was captured by US-led coalition forces over the weekend, he said. US headquarters could not immediately confirm this.
"We have also asked for more troops from other provinces because a big military operation has been planned," the Iraqi captain added.
Local politicans said the militiamen are rogue supporters of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who had refused to heed Sadr's call to set aside their weapons and take part in the ongoing political process.
Meanwhile, an official said eight police commandos were among those killed when the bomber detonated his cargo of explosives near a checkpoint outside the interior ministry's tightly guarded compound in downtown Baghdad.
The blast was the latest blow to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's campaign to convince Iraqis and the world that his government and security forces are up to the task of bringing peace to his bitterly divided country.
"The violence is on the decrease, and our security ability is increasing," Maliki told CNN on Sunday. "I want to assure he who loves Iraq that Iraq will never be in a civil war."
As he spoke, however, the death toll was mounting across the country as members of the three biggest of Iraq's rival ethno-religious communities -- Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds -- came under attack.
The latest violence came despite Maliki securing a pledge on Saturday from Iraqi tribal leaders to try to quell the fighting.
Four US troops were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside booby trap north of Baghdad and another died in a similar attack inside the capital, bringing US military losses in Iraq since their March 2003 invasion to 2,625.
Late Sunday, gunmen sprayed fire indiscriminately into a market in Khalis, a mainly Shiite town north of Baghdad, killing 14 people and wounding 25.
It was the second major attack of the day in Khalis -- six civilians died in a bombing earlier -- and gun attacks elsewhere in Diyala province accounted for six more victims.
Three suicide bombings targeting Kurds killed 11 people and wounded 66 more in the ethnically mixed northern oil city of Kirkuk, police Brigadier General Burhan Tayib told AFP.
One attack hit a shrine run by the family of President Jalal Talabani -- Iraq's most prominent Kurdish politician -- and the other the home of a Kurdish police chief in the city, which is claimed by both Kurds and Arabs.
Four Kurdish policemen were killed in an ambush outside the city by suspected Sunni Arab militants, police said.
Baghdad, where a major security operation was launched in July, saw two major suicide bomb attacks on Sunday that killed at least 14 people, after a relative lull in violence in recent days.
Two people were killed when a suicide bomber blew up a truck by the offices of a state-owned newspaper, while a second targeted commuters on Sadun Street near the landmark Palestine Hotel, in the commercial heart of the capital.
"A terrorist wearing an explosive belt blew himself up inside a Mercedes bus of 18 passengers and the terrible and cowardly act led to the martyrdom of eight innocent civilians and the injury of 18 others," Maliki's office said.
Gunmen also killed four of Sunni former deputy prime minister Abd Mutlaq al-Juburi's bodyguards in an ambush in Baghdad's western Ameriyah neighbourhood, a security official said.
In the largely Shiite southern city of Basra, a suicide bomber on a motorbike killed seven people and wounded 10 more in a marketplace, police said.
Health officials say around 100 Iraqis are killed by violence every day.