Suicide car bomber kills at least 22 in Baghdad

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The Independent Online

A suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives outside a Baghdad police station, killing at least 22 people in the country's deadliest attack in a week. Separate attacks killed a US soldier and a Marine.

The attack yesterday on the Rashad police station in the eastern neighborhood of Mashtal came during a blinding sandstorm. Security barricades prevented the bomber from reaching the station, but the huge blast destroyed two dozen cars and damaged nearby shops.

Police and hospital officials said 22 people - most of them civilians - were killed and about 30 were injured. It was the deadliest attack in Iraq since a suicide bomber blew himself up on the 16 July near a Shiite mosque in the central city of Musayyib, igniting a fuel tanker and killing nearly 100 people.

Elsewhere, gunmen killed the leader of the city council in the insurgent-riddled city of Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, police said. Council chairman Taha al-Hinderah and a companion were gunned down as they walked in the Albu Rahman neighborhood Sunday evening, police Capt. Laith Mohammed said.

In Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, insurgents emptied fuel from two tanker trucks on the Muthanna Bridge across the Tigris River and set it on fire, police said. Two people were wounded in clashes that followed.

Six policemen also were killed in scattered attacks in Baghdad and Kirkuk, officials reported. Gunmen in Kirkuk also killed an Iraqi soldier and wounded six people, police said.

The Marine was killed Saturday when a roadside bomb exploded near the desert town of Rutbah, 220 miles (355 kilometers) west of Baghdad. The US command said the Marine was assigned to Regimental Combat Team-2 of the 2nd Marine Division, but the victim's name was not released.

Despite the violence, Sunni Arab members of the 71-member committee drafting the new constitution signaled they were about to end their boycott, which began after last week's assassination of two of their colleagues.

The 12 Sunni Arab members of the committee announced they would meet with the Shiite chairman over breakfast Monday. Sunni committee member Saleh al-Mutlaq told The Associated Press he and his colleagues had received verbal assurances that their grievances would be addressed.

If all goes well at the breakfast meeting, "God willing we will participate tomorrow in the constitution drafting committee," he said.

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