First Published: 2005-01-25

Six US soldiers killed in Iraq

Gunmen kill Iraqi judge and his son while driving his car in Baghdad, US soldier killed in bomb blast in Iraqi capital.


Middle East Online

US troops stepping up patrols ahead of the elections

BAGHDAD - Gunmen shot dead a senior Baghdad judge and his young son on Tuesday and then danced in the street, shouting "This is what will happen to the traitor Shiites", one of the dead man's colleagues said.

The assailants, driving an Opel car, cut off Judge Qaiss Hashem al-Shamari, 32, the secretary of Iraq's council of judges, who was driving with his child, and shot them dead in eastern Baghdad, Shamari's fellow judge said on condition of anonymity.

"When they shot them, they jumped out of the car and started shouting 'this is what will happen to the traitor Shia'," Shamari's colleague said.

Shamari served as the chief administrator on the council of judges, the legal body that supervises all of Iraq's courts.

The governor of Baghdad and the capital's deputy police chief were gunned down earlier this month as insurgents escalated their efforts to sabotage next Sunday's national election.

In an audiotape message posted on an Islamist website last Sunday, militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - the most wanted man in Iraq with a 25 million dollar price on his head - declared all-out war on the elections he considers un-Islamic and also singled out the country's Shiite majority.

Zarqawi said the January 30 polls were a "wicked trap aimed at putting the Rafidha (a derogatory term for Shiite Muslims) in the seat of power in Iraq."

It was the second inflammatory message from Osama bin Laden's anointed "emir" in Iraq since Thursday as he sought to maximize violence among the country's fractious mix of Shiites and Sunnis ahead of the vote.

Meanwhile, a US soldier was killed in a bomb blast in Baghdad Monday, the US Army said in a statement Tuesday.

"A Task Force Baghdad Soldier died of wounds at approximately 7:00 pm (1600 GMT) January 24. The soldier sustained the injuries when a patrol was attacked with an improvised explosive device in western Baghdad," the military said.

Another Five US soldiers died in a road accident north of Baghdad, the military said in a statement Tuesday.

"Five 1st Infantry Division Soldiers died and two were injured in a vehicle accident near Khan Bani Saad" on Monday, the statement said. One of the wounded was in serious condition.

The deaths raise the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq to 1,374 since the March 2003 invasion, 296 of them in non-combat incidents, according to the latest figures from the Pentagon.


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