Iraq Postpones Naming Government; Insurgents Launch More Attacks
Jawad al-Maliki, a top member of the Shiite alliance that won a majority of the seats on the 275-member National Assembly after Jan. 30 elections, said wrangling over appointments to key ministries had put off Monday’s expected announcement of a proposed cabinet, according to Reuters.
Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a member of the Shiite alliance, has until May 7 to name a cabinet. If he does not do so by then, he would have to step down to make way for a new prime minister who would then try to form a government.
Insurgents, meanwhile, launched two separate attacks aimed at Iraq’s oil industry in the north, setting fire to pumps near Kirkuk and opening fire on police guarding a convoy of tanker trucks, officials said. Two policemen were wounded and three insurgents arrested in a one-hour gunbattle over the convoy, reported the Associated Press.
A suicide car bombing in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, wounded two civilians and damaged a U.S. Marine vehicle, the U.S. military said.
On Sunday, insurgents set off dual bombings in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit and a Shiite neighborhood in western Baghdad, killing and wounding dozens of Iraqi police and civilians.
In Baghdad’s western al-Shoulah neighborhood, a vehicle packed with explosives drove into a popular ice cream shop, police Maj. Mousa Abdul Karim said.
Minutes later, as police and residents rushed to help the victims a second suicide car bomber drove into the crowd, according to the AP. At least 23 people were killed and 41 injured, officials at two hospitals said Monday.
In Tikrit, two remotely detonated car bombs exploded in quick succession outside a police academy, killing at least six Iraqis and wounding 33, police and hospital officials said.
A roadside bomb hit a U.S. convoy in eastern Baghdad, killing one American soldier and wounding two, the American military said. Two civilians were also wounded in the attack, Iraqi police said.
At least 1,568 members of the U.S. military have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to an AP tally.
The U.S. military also said it has detained four more suspects in the downing of a civilian Mi-8 helicopter Thursday, bringing to 10 the total number of suspects apprehended. All 11 passengers and crew were killed, including a survivor gunned down by insurgents.