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Death toll at 825 since new Iraq government
Updated: 2005-06-03 22:53

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Ten Iraqis were killed in an overnight suicide bombing in a remote village north of Baghdad, officials said Friday, bringing to nearly 50 the number of people killed during a bloody day of violence in Iraq.

Thursday's carnage claimed the lives of at least 49 people, including more than 30 in four suicide bombings across the country's north and a Shiite cleric in the southern city of Basra.

At least 825 people, including U.S. forces, have been killed since the new Shiite-led government was announced April 28, underscoring the fragility of this country's reconstruction.

Iraq's Interior Minister Bayan Jabr on Thursday claimed the government offensive seeking to root out rebels in Baghdad had scored big gains, saying this week's sweep by Iraqi soldiers and police captured 700 suspected insurgents and killed 28 militants.

But the incessant violence launched by a host of militants, from Islamic extremists to Saddam Hussein loyalists, highlights how far security authorities need to go to stop the killings.

Early Friday, gunmen killed Razzouq Mohammed Ibrahim, an Iraqi contractor in charge of renovating a mosque in western Samarra, and stole his car, police Lt. Qassim Mohammed said.

Two Iraqi civilians, including a child, were killed when their car swerved into a U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle near Khalis, 50 miles north of Baghdad, early Friday, the U.S. military said.

Late Thursday, a suicide car bomber targeted a home where a group of people had gathered, killing at least 10 Iraqis and wounding 10 more in Saud, a remote village near Balad which is 50 miles north of Baghdad, U.S. military, Iraqi police and hospital officials said Friday. No further details were immediately available.

Earlier in Tuz Khormato, a popular highway stop 55 miles south of the oil-rich town of Kirkuk, a suicide car bomber targeted bodyguards for Iraq's Kurdish deputy prime minister as they ate at a restaurant. The blast killed 12 people.

Another suicide car bomber trying to attack a convoy of civilian contract workers in Kirkuk killed a young boy and three other Iraqi bystanders and wounded 11.

Four people were killed and four others wounded by a suicide car bombing in Baqouba, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, including a deputy provincial council leader. In the northern city of Mosul, two parked motorcycles rigged with bombs blew up near a coffee shop, killing five Iraqis and wounding 13.

In the capital, men in three speeding cars sprayed gunfire into a crowded market in the northern neighborhood of Hurriyah, killing nine people, the interior and defense ministries said. Two other Baghdad attacks killed four people and injured three.

Gunmen shot dead Shiite cleric Ali Abdul Hussein outside his home in Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, said police Capt. Mushtaq Taleeb. At least 10 Shiite and Sunni clerics have been killed in the latest surge in violence.

As part of the campaign against insurgents, Iraq's government launched in Baghdad on Sunday the biggest Iraqi offensive since Saddam Hussein's fall two years ago. Iraqi officials have said the operation involves 40,000 soldiers and police, though not all are manning positions at any one time. Before the offensive, authorities controlled only eight of Baghdad's 23 entrances, Jabr said.

Citing figures obtained from an Interior Ministry research center, Jabr said some 12,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during the past 18 months, including more than 10,000 Shiites. But he said he analyzed the figures on the basis of areas where the victims lived, not data explicitly stating the branch of Islam they belong to.

Jabr said the Baghdad operation had netted at least 700 people he labeled "terrorists" and killed 28 rebels in firefights. In addition, 118 criminal suspects had been arrested.

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