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Scattered attacks kill dozens in Baghdad

By Associated Press
Published August 10, 2005

BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomber struck a U.S. convoy waiting at an intersection Tuesday in Baghdad, killing seven people - including one American soldier - and wounding more than 90. More than a dozen others died in attacks across the capital.

Also, a U.S. Marine assigned to the 2nd Marine Division was killed Monday by small-arms fire in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The deaths brought the number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq this month to at least 32.

Violence raged as Iraqi political leaders showed little sign of compromise less than a week before a deadline for approving a new constitution. Faction leaders conferred for about four hours Tuesday night hoping to overcome their differences and produce a charter by Monday.

Participants said the talks focused on Kurdish demands for a federal state and although some progress was made, there was no final agreement on the issue. More talks were set for today. The American convoy was stopped at a busy intersection when a driver detonated a vehicle packed with explosives, the U.S. Army said. Six Iraqi civilians also were killed; scores of Iraqis and two U.S. soldiers were wounded.

At least 1,836 members of the U.S. military have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003.

The U.S. hopes progress on the political front, including adoption of a democratic constitution, will help deflate the Sunni Arab-led rebellion and enable the Americans and their partners to begin withdrawing troops next year.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite, hinted that political leaders might not resolve all issues before next week's deadline but said he remained hopeful the draft could be completed by then.

"But if some matters block us ... then it might take a little time" after the Monday deadline, he said.

In other developments:

The mayor of Baghdad, Alaa al-Timimi, was fired and responsibility for managing the city transferred to the provincial governor, government spokesman Laith Kubba said. He refused to say why the mayor was fired.

U.S. troops Tuesday killed four insurgents trying to plant a roadside bomb in the city of Ramadi, police Lt. Mohammed al-Obeidi said.

Violence targeting Iraqi police left 10 officers dead, including five officers slain while sleeping in their car. Lt. Col. Ahmed Aboud said the men had spent the night on patrol and were waiting for replacements.

Late Tuesday, gunmen killed an Iraqi Cabinet employee, Abbas Ibrahim Mohammed, in Baghdad. In addition, three civilians were killed in a mortar attack, police said.

U.S. and Iraqi forces killed two insurgents and arrested 22 others in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said Tuesday. Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment killed the insurgents, found setting up a mortar tube Monday in Mosul.

The mayor of Samawah, a southern Shiite city gripped by riots over lack of municipal services, resigned under pressure. The decision came Monday during a visit by delegates sent by the prime minister, according to Sheik Mohannad al-Gharrawi.

About 750 Japanese troops are based in Samawah, 230 miles southeast of Baghdad.

[Last modified August 10, 2005, 00:38:10]

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