Three day laborers killed in Iraq

Gunmen opened fire on day laborers in the capital early Friday, killing three and wounding a dozen in a drive-by shooting. Attacks claimed nine more lives elsewhere in Iraq as militants pressed their "all-out war" on Shiites.

The violence Friday, on the Muslim day of prayer, followed two days of mayhem in Baghdad that left nearly 200 dead. The workers killed and injured had assembled in east Baghdad seeking day jobs.

"We are innocent people...Those criminals and terrorists came and did this to us," said Salah Aziz Ali, a wounded worker.

As reported earlier, on Thursday suicide bombers killed at least 31 people in three suicide attacks targeting Iraqi police. A day earlier, at least 167 people were killed and 570 wounded in more than a dozen bombings in Baghdad. The largest single toll resulted from a suicide bombing against day laborers in the largely Shiite Kazimiyah neighborhood in north Baghdad.

The U.S. military continued attacks on militant strongholds in western Iraq along the Syrian border where militants hold many towns and villages along the Euphrates River as it flows southeastward from the Syrian border.

Al-Qaida in Iraq said the brutal bombings in Baghdad were reprisals for the joint Iraqi-U.S. operation that pushed insurgents out of their stronghold in Tal Afar, also near the Syrian border but in the far north of Iraq.

The American military said U.S. jets pounded an abandoned school used by Al-Qaida in the town of Karabilah, about 200 miles northwest of Baghdad. Nine insurgents were killed in the Thursday night strike.

Before dawn Friday U.S. jets were called in again to destroy what the military said was a bomb factory in Haditha, also along the Euphrates in western Iraq.

Two days earlier al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi vowed to wage an ``all-out war'' on the country's Shiite majority, calling its members collaborators of the ``Jews and Crusaders.''

At Al-Kindi Teaching Hospital, where the laborers were taken after the morning drive-by shooting, the wounded lined the corridors, while others lay on gurneys as doctors worked frantically to stanch bleeding and bandage wounds.

A car bomb also detonated near an Iraqi police patrol in the town of Haswa, near Baghdad, killing three officers and wounding four, police Capt. Muthana Khalid said.

And in the Iskandariya district, 30 miles south of Baghdad, gunmen broke into the house of the local mayor and shot him dead, after first killing his four bodyguards, police Capt. Muthans Khalid said.

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