10 people killed in Iraq attacks

Insurgents killed at least 10 people in attacks around Iraq today, including five police officers killed at a checkpoint. Attackers exploded five car bombs around Baghdad but caused relatively few casualties. Gunmen killed five officers at a police checkpoint 45 miles north of Baghdad, a morgue official in Baqouba said, and a suicide car bomber slammed into a police patrol in eastern Baghdad, killing three officers and wounding four others, said Lt Col Hasan Jaloob.

That car bomb was one of five insurgents exploded in the capital. None of the others killed anyone, though 15 people were injured.Bloodshed claimed at least 18 lives across Iraq on Sunday, including two US and five Iraqi soldiers killed by bombings in Baghdad. The attacks are part of an increase in violence seen in recent days after a relative lull in attacks around the December 15 parliamentary elections.

Iraq’s electoral commission was today expected to announce the results from balloting of Iraqis living overseas.Partial results already released from voting in Iraq showed the United Iraqi Alliance, a religious Shiite coalition, with a large lead.

Those results have been attacked by Sunni Arab and secular Shiite parties, which charge the election was tainted by fraud and other irregularities.

The Alliance, headed by cleric Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, denies there was any fraud and is urging Iraqis to accept the results as it tries to form a “national unity” government drawing people from all communities.

In Baghdad’s Shiite slum of Sadr City, about 1,000 demonstrators rallied to support the United Iraqi Alliance. Sunni Arabs staged smaller demonstrations in Fallujah and Baqouba to support demands that election officials look closely at results for any signs of fraud.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a member of the Kurdish minority, sought to calm tensions by saying that all factions will have a role in the new government.

“The government will not be formed without the Sunni Arabs,” Talabani told reporters in the northern resort town of Dukan, where he met with Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to discuss the political situation.

Talabani said there must be a “consensus government that preserves national unity”.

He said the rights of the Kurdish people must also be guaranteed. All of the election complaints demonstrate the difficulty that Iraqi parties will face in forming a government after final election results are released in early January.

About 1,500 complaints have been lodged about the elections, including at least 35 that the Iraqi election commission said could be serious enough to change the results in certain areas.

In other violence today, gunmen in Baghdad killed a civilian who was driving his two children to school, a hospital official said, and gunmen killed a professor in western Baghdad, police said, reports Ireland Online. I.L.

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