7 Iraqis and one U.S. soldier killed in Iraq

A bomb hidden in a parked minibus exploded in Baghdad 's main wholesale market on Tuesday, killing two Iraqis and wounding five, police said. Insurgents also killed a U.S. Army soldier and five Iraqis in other attacks. In another development, the U.S. command announced that Iraq 's Central Criminal Court had convicted 12 suspected insurgents in April of crimes such as joining a terrorist group. They included two men who were given life sentences for joining al-Qaida in Iraq operations: Hassan Abdullah Muhsin and Mohammed Dhaher Ibrahim Yassen Jazzah.

Tuesday's worst attack occurred in central Baghdad when the bomb hidden in the minibus exploded in Shorja, a market where wholesalers use warehouses, stalls and shops to sell food, clothing and house products to businessmen and shoppers. At least two Iraqis were killed and five wounded, said Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohamadwi, an Interior Ministry policeman.

Baghdad is filled with privately owned minibuses that charge small fees to take citizens around the often crowded streets of the capital. A roadside bomb killed the U.S. soldier at about 9:50 p.m. Monday, approximately 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Baghdad . The area is part of the infamous "triangle of death" and the scene of numerous ambushes against U.S. and Iraqi troops, foreigners and Shiite civilians.

That bombing raised to at least 2,406 the number of members of the U.S. military who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. It was the first reported U.S. fatality in May. In April, 70 American servicemen died in Iraq , the highest monthly figure since November, when 84 U.S. servicemen were killed.

Monday's deadliest insurgent attack in Iraq occurred in Madain, a Shiite town 14 miles (22 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad , when a bomb exploded in an outdoor vegetable market, killing four Iraqis and wounding two. In other violence Tuesday,

A roadside bomb missed a U.S. convoy in Waziriyah, northern Baghdad , killing one civilian pedestrian, said police Capt. Ali al-Obeidi. A roadside bomb also missed an Iraqi police patrol, killing one civilian and injuring another one in western Baghdad , said police 1st Lt. Maithem Abdel-Razaq.

In Dora, one of the capital's most violent neighborhoods, a roadside bomb wounded three Iraqi soldiers traveling in a convoy, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein. Gunmen attacked a stone quarry 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Baqouba city, killing the guard, Nasir Awad, and kidnapping, Hassan Hashim, the quarry owner's son, police said.

Gunmen kidnapped Mohammed Abdul-Mutalib and Mustafa Mohammad Khalid, two residents of Buhriz, 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Baghdad , police said. Two Iraqi civilians were killed and one was wounded in two drive-by shootings in two areas of the capital: Nafaq al-Shurta and Yarmouk, police said. The handcuffed, blindfolded and bullet-ridden bodies of eight Iraqi men were found, four in Baghdad and four in Suwayrah, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Baghdad , officials said.

On Monday, at least 15 bullet-riddled bodies were found in the capital. U.S. officials hope the new Iraqi government, expected to be finalized this month, will be able to calm sectarian tensions and lure many minority Sunni Arabs away from the insurgency so U.S. and other international troops can begin heading home.

President Jalal Talabani was quoted by his office as saying Sunday that he had met with representatives of seven armed groups and was optimistic they would agree to lay down their arms. However, an official in Talabani's office said Monday the president did not meet with the groups and that his security adviser, Lt. Gen. Wafiq al-Sammaraie, made the contacts.

Another Kurdish politician, Mahmoud Othman, also said Talabani had not met with any insurgent representatives but that al-Sammaraie was in contact with undisclosed groups not linked to Saddam Hussein loyalists or al-Qaida in Iraq .

In Washington , U.S. President George W. Bush said he was convinced Iraq 's leadership is "more determined that ever to succeed" with formation of a new permanent government.

"We believe we've got partners to help the Iraqi people realize their dreams," Bush said after meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who visited Baghdad last week. "They need to know that we stand with them", reports the AP.

N.U.