Iraq: two suicide bombings carried off more then 30 lives

Two suicide bombers killed about 30 people and wounded 50 today near the city hall in Hillah, south of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, the coalition military said.

Today's attack comes as 40,000 members of Iraq's security forces begin an operation against insurgents in Baghdad, the biggest Iraqi-led offensive yet. The insurgency has left almost 700 people dead since the cabinet of Prime Minister &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Ibrahim al- Jaafari was announced a month ago, informs Bloomberg. Al-Jaafari, from the majority Shiite Muslim community, has tried to lessen sectarian violence by reaching out to the Sunni Muslim minority, whose members largely boycotted the Jan. 30 vote for a &to=http:// ' target=_blank>National Assembly. That effort may have been set back today when U.S. forces detained the leader of the largest Sunni political party before determining his arrest was a ``mistake.''

Meanwhile, U.S. forces briefly detained a Sunni political leader on the second day of an Iraqi-led security sweep in the capital. Mohsen Abdul-Hamid, head of Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political party and short-time president of the now-dissolved U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council, was taken from his home in western Baghdad at about 6 a.m. today by military forces, party officials said.

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