Iraqi gunmen kill police commando, lawyer

Assailants in speeding cars gunned down a police commando as he was leaving his house in south Baghdad Thursday, and drive-by shooters killed a lawyer as she got out of a taxi in the southern city of Basra, police said. A dozen Iraqis were wounded in bombings and other attacks in the capital.

The U.S. military reported the death Thursday of an American soldier in Fallujah, west of Baghdad in the volatile province of Anbar. The soldier of the 9th Naval Construction Regiment died Tuesday from wounds sustained in fighting, the military said.

Talks to form a new government remained stalled, meanwhile, as Iraqi politicians canceled their multiparty meetings Wednesday, saying they needed time to consult with their political blocs over the critical issue of what powers the next prime minister would have over security issues.

It was the second time this week political leaders shunned a session meant to overcome the government stalemate that is in its sixth week.

Police discovered the body of a man in his 40s who had been strangled in Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Hurriyah, likely yet another in the capital's underground battle of revenge killings between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. To date in March, the AP has reported 374 bodies found.

A suicide car bomber targeting a police patrol blew up in west Baghdad's Yarmouk neighborhood, wounding three police commandos and two civilians. Roadside bombs hit a minibus and a police patrol, wounding at least five civilians, and gunmen continued to target policemen, wounding at least two, police said.

Insurgents blew up a pipeline transporting oil from the northern city of Kirkuk to the Beiji refinery, at a point near a village 45 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, an engineer in the region said. Police confirmed the attack and said they were investigating, reports the AP.

I.L.