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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

BAGHDAD - Bombers triggered a series of blasts around the war-torn Iraqi capital Tuesday, killing 11 as police continued their grim daily harvest of corpses from a city in the grip of a vicious sectarian war.

An explosion ripped through a crowd outside a baker`s shop in a Sunni district of the capital, killing at least 10 bystanders, while another hit a police patrol and added another name to the force`s long list of dead.

Meanwhile, security officials said they had gathered the bodies of 60 murder victims from the city`s streets on Monday, and the US military confirmed the deaths of two more of its own soldiers in the persistent conflict.

The killings come at a time when UN and Iraqi officials estimate that more than 100 people are being killed every day in the fighting.

Tuesday`s bloodiest bombing took place outide a baker`s shop in Dura, a mainly Sunni area of southwest Baghdad which has become a battlefield for the Sunni and Shiite gangs involved in Baghdad`s deadly turf war.

Bakers are a common target for Sunni insurgents as the profession tends to be dominated by Shiite workers and some Islamist extremists regard it as improper for men rather than women to make bread.

Ten people were killed in the blast and four more wounded. One policeman was killed and four more wounded when their patrol was hit by a booby-trap, also in Dura, where there is a major Iraqi and US security presence.

Meanwhile, fighting died down in the Shiite town of Diwaniyah, south of the capital, where US and Iraqi forces have been fighting members of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr`s Mahdi Army militia since Sunday.

The US-led coalition said they had killed 30 militiamen on Sunday, after they attacked and destroyed a US tank, and 11 more on Monday after militants in police uniforms ambused a joint US-Iraqi patrol.

In other violence, according to the police:

- Two policemen were killed in an explosion as their patrol passed between Mussayab and Jurf al-Sakhr, just south of the capital.

- One bus driver was killed and three civilians wounded when bomb attacks targeted two buses carrying coffins through Latifiyah, also south of Baghdad.

- A policeman was shot dead in the southern town of Amara.

- A member of ousted president Saddam Hussein`s Baath party was assassinated in Diwaniyah.

- Unidentifed gunmen opened fire on Iraqi workers leaving a US base in Dujail, north of Baghdad, killing one of them.

Earlier, the US military said that Iraqi special forces and US advisers had raided a hideout of a suspected bomb-maker in Sadr City, a bastion of the Mahdi Army. One suspect was shot dead and five arrested, including the target.

A coalition statement said one US soldier died on Monday "when terrorists attacked his patrol with small-arms fire in eastern Baghdad," where US forces are conducting operations against Shiite militias and death squads.

Another US soldier, from the 25th Aviation Combat Brigade, "died of wounds sustained from an explosion while on a vehicle patrol on Sunday" in Saddam Hussein`s hometown of Tikrit.

The deaths brought the number of US servicemen killed in action or from other causes during the Iraq operation since March 2003 to 2,742, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures.

10/10/2006 11:54 GMT

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