Tuesday, November 21, 2006
US Air Strike on Sadr City Kills 5, Including Mother and Infant
Raid in Baghdad's Sadr City kills 5, nabs 7
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Backed by U.S.-led coalition advisers, Iraqi security forces battled insurgents early Tuesday in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, the U.S. military said.
At least five people were killed in the fighting, including a mother and her 8-month-old child, and 18 others were wounded, an Iraqi Health Ministry official said.
A Shiite legislator, holding the dead child's body, told reporters outside a hospital morgue that the Iraqi government should be denounced for allowing such attacks, The Associated Press reported.
"I am suspending my membership in parliament since it remains silent about crimes such as this against the Iraqi people," said Saleh Al-Ukailli, according to AP. "I will not return to parliament until the occupation troops leave the country."
Al-Ukailli is one of 30 lawmakers in Iraq's 275-member parliament who are followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric with offices based in Sadr City, the AP reported.
During Tuesday's operation, Iraqi forces and coalition aircraft came under small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire, the military said, but added, "Coalition aircraft neutralized the threat."
No casualties were reported among Iraqi and coalition forces.
Also, seven members of a cell were detained, including its leader, believed to have firsthand knowledge about an American soldier's abduction, the U.S. military said.
Ahmed Altaie, 42, a U.S. Army Reserve specialist, was abducted October 23 when he left Baghdad's Green Zone, where the United States maintains headquarters, to visit his Iraqi wife and family.
Iraq, Syria resume diplomatic ties
Iraq and Syria re-established diplomatic relations Tuesday, nearly a quarter century after they were first severed.
The agreement was signed by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem during a ceremony in Baghdad. (Full story)
Syria cut diplomatic ties with Iraq in 1982.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani planned to travel this weekend to Tehran, Iran, to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a spokesman said.
Wire services reported that Syrian President Bashar Assad will be in Tehran at the same time, but a Talabani spokesman said Monday the Iraqi president does not plan to meet with anyone from the Syrian government during his trip.
U.S. and Iraqi officials have said insurgents and terrorists have infiltrated Iraq through Syria and brought in weapons across the Syrian border. U.S. officials also have accused Syria of interfering in Lebanon.
Moallem, the highest-ranking Syrian official to visit Iraq since the U.S.-led war began in 2003, has urged the establishment of a timetable for a American pullout.
"We believe that a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq will help in reducing violence and preserving security," he said Sunday.
On Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the United States was "trapped in Iraq" and urged Washington to consider carefully when to pull out of the country so that the security situation doesn't worsen, the AP reported. (Full story)
Explosion damages lawmaker's decoy vehicle
A decoy vehicle used in a convoy of the Iraqi parliament speaker exploded Tuesday inside the heavily fortified Green Zone while parliament was in session, a parliament information officer said.
The vehicle, part of Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani's convoy, was damaged when explosives placed under the rear right side of it exploded in a parking lot, the officer said. One of the drivers was slightly wounded.
U.S. military explosive ordnance disposal teams later remotely detonated the vehicle.
CNN's Ingrid Formanek, Erin McLaughlin and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.
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