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U.S. woman among 4 killed in ambush

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published January 18, 2007


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A suicide car bomber killed 17 Shiites at a teeming Sadr City market Wednesday, while gunmen in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Baghdad shot up a convoy of workers for Washington-based National Democratic Institute, killing an American woman and three bodyguards.

In all, police reported 70 people killed or found dead in Iraq on Wednesday. They included 31 bullet-riddled bodies that turned up in Baghdad showing signs of torture.

The attack on the marketplace came one day after car bombings killed scores of university students just two miles away, indicating that al-Qaida-linked fighters are bent on a surge of bloodshed as U.S. and Iraqi forces gear up for a fresh neighborhood-by-neighborhood security sweep through the capital.

The U.S. military also said two more American soldiers died - one Wednesday after suffering wounds during an operation in the Sunni stronghold of Anbar province and another who died there Monday.

Maliki hits back

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki voiced frustration with President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying their criticism of his government probably helped terrorists. Maliki was especially upset about Rice's comment last week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when she said that Maliki's government is working on "borrowed time."

"Such statements give moral boosts to the terrorists and push them toward making an extra effort and making them believe that they have defeated the American administration, but I can tell you that they haven't defeated the Iraqi government," he said.

Maliki also said 400 militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had been arrested "within the last few days." It was the first time al-Maliki claimed significant action against the militia, the Mahdi Army, which has been blamed for much of the sectarian killings in the past months.

Setback for objector

FORT LEWIS, Wash. - An Army lieutenant who called the Iraq war illegal and refused to deploy cannot base his court-martial defense on the war's legality, a military judge has ruled.

Lawyers for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, planned to argue that wars must be waged in accordance with the United Nations charter.

But in a ruling released Tuesday, Lt. Col. John Head said "whether the war is lawful" is a political question that could not be judged in a military court.

Watada is charged with missing troop movement last year. He faces up to six years in prison.

[Last modified January 18, 2007, 00:47:45]


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