Some 60 Dead In Country Wide Violence

Some 60 Dead in Country-Wide Violence
Najaf Assassinations Called Personal, Not Terrorism

al-Hayat reports that [Ar.] the police chief of the Shiite shrine city of Najaf is admitting a high rate of assassinations in the city. But he says that after investigation, they mostly appear to be a matter of personal feuds and score-settling and are not terror-related (i.e. Sunni Arab infiltrators are not coming in to kill Shiites.)

Some of the assassinations reported in Najaf and Karbala have been of ex-Baathist officials, so that is part of the score-settling.

The increase in the murder rate in Najaf has not been reported in the Western press or wire services.

Reuters reports nearly 60 deaths from political violence in Iraq on Tuesday. Major incidents:

‘ BAGHDAD – The bodies of five people, shot in the head and bearing signs of torture, were found in different areas of Baghdad, a source in the Interior Ministry said. . .

BAGHDAD – A motorcycle exploded near restaurants in al-Andalus square in central Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 18, a source in the Interior Ministry said.

BAGHDAD – Three civilians were killed and 21 wounded, including 12 policemen, when a car bomb and a roadside bomb exploded in quick succession in eastern Zayouna district of Baghdad, a source in the Interior Ministry said.

MAHMUDIYA – A roadside bomb killed five people and wounded eight in Mahmudiya, police said. . .

KUT – A spokesman for the political movement of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Wasit province said seven of its Mehdi Army militiamen were killed and 18 posted as missing, along with nine wounded, after an airstrike on the village of Sayafiya, west of Suwayra and 50 km (30 miles) south of Baghdad early on Tuesday. The spokesman, Hameed al-Zargani, said the Mehdi Army was engaged in a gunbattle with unidentified gunmen when bombs fell on the village. The U.S. military, the only force with such air power in Iraq, had no immediate comment. ‘

The al-Qaeda figure Omar Faruq, killed in Basra by British troops, had come there to see his sick mother, according to al-Sharq al-Awsat.