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Scattered Violence Continues in Iraq After Curfew Ends

BY Admin  February 27, 2006 at 2:30 PM EST

In addition to the deaths, the mortar attack wounded 16 in a Shiite neighborhood in western Baghdad, according to the Associated Press.

Military efforts to bring stability to restive sections of the country also continued Monday with U.S. helicopters firing on three houses 15 miles west of Samarra and security officials arresting 10 more people, according to Iraqi police.

Although the days of intense attacks have abated, officials are still finding bodies from the bloody attacks. On Monday, four bodies, which had been blindfolded and handcuffed, were found in Dora, a Baghdad neighborhood where a mortar barrage the night before killed 16 people and injured 53, reported the AP.

The Iraqi army deployed some of its few tanks around the capital in a partly symbolic measure to try to keep calm. The country was wracked with violence last week after the bombing of a Shiite mosque in Samarra led to reprisal attacks against Sunnis. In all, over 200 people reportedly died in the five days of violence.

Iraq’s Defense Ministry said security forces had killed 35 “terrorists” and detained 487 since Wednesday. State television later announced the capture of a reportedly Syrian aide to al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Sunni representatives said they would end their boycott of talks aimed at forming an Iraqi government if Shiites returned mosques seized in last week’s violence and met other demands, the AP reported.

Sunnis abandoned the talks Thursday after the bombing of the Askariya shrine led to reprisal attacks against Sunni mosques.

“The situation is tense and within the next two days, we expect the situation to improve and then we will have talks,” Adnan al-Dulaimi, whose Iraqi Accordance Front spearheaded the boycott, told the AP.

The walkout and Sunni-Shiite clashes had threatened U.S. plans to establish a unity government capable of drawing Sunnis away from the insurgency.