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U.S. Military Says Iraqi Troops Seize Health Ministry Official

February 8, 2007 -- The U.S. military says Iraqi forces have detained a senior Health Ministry official over allegations he is assisting Shi'ite militiamen to infiltrate the ministry.

The military statement did not name the official. But earlier, a ministry spokesman said Deputy Health Minister Hakim al-Zamili had been seized during a military raid carried out by both Iraqi and U.S. troops. Al-Zamili is a senior member of the movement led by radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Al-Zamili survived an assassination attempt on November 20, 2006. At the time, he said gunmen ambushed his convoy in Baghdad's Al-Fadhil district on his way home from the ministry and killed two of his bodyguards.

Health Minister Ali al-Shammari denounced the raid as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

At least 16 people have been killed in the latest bomb attacks to strike Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq.

In the deadliest incident today, at least 10 people were killed and 25 wounded when a car bomb exploded at a market in Al-Azizyah, a mainly Shi'ite town 100 kilometers south of Baghdad.

Another car bombing struck near a mosque in Baghdad's Al-Amin district, killing at least six.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said that four Marines have been killed in fighting in Al-Anbar Governorate.

(compiled from agency reports)


Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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