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BAGHDAD: Separate gun attacks north of Baghdad killed 12 security members — eight soldiers and four militiamen — yesterday, a second deadly day in Iraq as it nears the 10th anniversary since the US-led invasion. The violence comes a day after a string of coordinated bombings and a brazen assault on a ministry complex in the capital left 18 people dead, with barely a month to go before the country holds its first elections in three years.
In yesterday’s deadliest attack, gunmen killed eight Iraqi soldiers as they were on their way to report to their unit in a town north of Baghdad, security and medical officials said.
The soldiers had set off from the town of Qaiyarah in the northern province of Nineveh and were headed to a military camp in Taji, 25km north of Baghdad.
When they were about half way along the route and near the town of Baiji, gunmen opened fire on their minibus, causing it to overturn, at which point the militants shot at the soldiers.
Ahmadinejad’s remarks ‘heresy’
TEHRAN: A senior Iranian cleric accused President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of “heresy” yesterday by saying in his tribute to late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez that he would be resurrected with Jesus Christ. “Those comments on Chavez’s return with Christ were heresy,” Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, the hardline chief of the influential Guardians Council, told worshippers at Friday prayers in Tehran.
Janati was referring to comments by Ahmadinejad on March 6 in which he called Chavez a “martyr” who would “return, along with the righteous Jesus and the perfect human.” Janati said Iran’s clergy had been “upset” by the remarks. “Should people say whatever comes to mind? I wish (Ahmadinejad) had spent a few days in a seminary before discussing such issues,” he said.
Israel arrests 10 Palestinians
JERUSALEM: The Israeli army has arrested 10 Palestinians on suspicion of stonethrowing blamed for a road accident in which an Israeli woman and her three daughters were injured, a statement said yesterday. The accident took place on Thursday evening near the West Bank settlement of Ariel. One daughter, aged two, was seriously injured.