- The Washington Times - Monday, April 24, 2006

BAGHDAD — A string of car bombs rocked Baghdad yesterday, killing 10 persons and wounding nearly 80 in an apparent campaign to discredit Iraq’s new leadership. At least 15 persons were killed in other bombings and shootings.

Police also discovered the bodies of 28 persons in the capital and the northern city of Mosul. They included 15 police recruits from Ramadi who were kidnapped Sunday and slain by terrorists, police said.

The seven car bombs exploded in a five-hour period in six widely separated neighborhoods across the capital. The first blast occurred near the Health Ministry and killed five persons, police Lt. Col. Faleh al-Mohammedawi said.

Two hours later, bombs hidden in two cars exploded near Mustansiriya University, killing five, including a 10-year-old boy, Col. al-Mohammedawi said. Blasts also occurred in central Baghdad, the Karradah district, Mansour and the New Baghdad area in the east of the capital.

Col. al-Mohammedawi put the number of wounded at nearly 80, most of them in the two fatal bombings.

The bodies of the 15 police recruits were found in a small truck on the western edge of the capital, Col. al-Mohammedawi said. All showed signs of torture. Insurgents in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, have been warning fellow Sunnis against joining the police and army.

Three other bodies were found in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, including a university student who had been kidnapped earlier in the day, police said. The other bodies were found in separate areas of Baghdad.

The government said yesterday that more than 5,600 Shi’ite families comprising nearly 34,000 people have fled their homes in mainly Sunni regions of Baghdad and central Iraq because of violence.

The list appeared to be the number of families that had fled to date, but did not say when the movements began. Reports of large numbers of Shi’ites leaving Sunni regions began amid increased sectarian violence sparked by the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shi’ite shrine in Samarra, a city north of Baghdad.

The families fled from the mainly Sunni district of Abu Ghraib in Baghdad; cities north and west of the capital, including Baqouba, Beiji, Taji and Samarra; and mixed districts south of Baghdad in a region known as the Triangle of Death because of the frequent insurgent attacks there.

The latest deaths brought to more than 70 the number of Iraqis reported killed in insurgency or sectarian-related violence since Jawad al-Maliki was formally tapped Saturday to lead a national unity government.

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