New Baghdad attacks kill 13 - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/27/07-BAGHDAD, Iraq

New Baghdad attacks kill 13

 Twin car bombs exploded in a busy Baghdad market Saturday morning, killing 13 people, Baghdad police officials said.

This was the second Baghdad market bombing in as many days -- on Friday, 15 people died when the popular Ghazel pet market, where people buy and sell monkeys, cats, dogs, was attacked.

In addition to the 13 killed in Saturday's bombings in southeastern Baghdad, 42 people were injured. The first of the two car explosions was a suicide attack, police said.

Another nine people were injured in northwest Baghdad's Hurriya neighborhood after two mortar rounds landed in a residential area Saturday, a Baghdad police official said.

Also Saturday in Baghdad, gunmen dressed as Iraqi national police officers stormed a computer store, abducting seven people before speeding off in three vehicles, Baghdad police said.

It is not the first report of gunmen disguising themselves. Attackers have been reported wearing Iraqi Army, national police and commando uniforms, as well as uniforms that resemble U.S. military attire.

In October, U.S. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said Iraqi police brigades were forced to buy new uniforms after gunmen committed "criminal acts and sectarian violence" while dressed as police officers.

About 35 miles north of Baghdad -- near the city of Baquba -- coalition forces killed 14 suspected terrorists in an airstrike. Two more suspected terrorists were arrested during morning raids targeting safehouses for foreign fighters, the U.S. military said.

Two more insurgents were killed in southern Kirkuk when their car, rigged with explosives, detonated outside a Shiite mosque, a Kirkuk police official said.

Iran fires back

Saturday's violence comes a day after a national security official confirmed that President Bush had authorized the U.S. military to capture or kill Iranian agents in Iraq who are plotting attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces.

Although the Iranian mission to the U.N. had no official comment on the policy, an article by the Islamic republic's semi-official FARS news agency quoted a top Iranian official as saying that the U.S. policy constituted "terrorist measures"

"Such a measure illustrates the failure of the United States' new strategy in Iraq because it has had no effect in quelling unrests and restoring calm and order and has instead roused intensified reactions in Iraq," said Alaoddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian Parliament's national policy commission, according to FARS.

"Such moves are deemed as terrorist measures and are in blatant contradiction to the international rules and regulations," Boroujerdi is quoted as saying.

The Iraqi government will have to share responsibility for the "illogical and incredible" policy if the reports are true, Boroujerdi said, according to FARS.

An Iranian official at the United Nations, who did not wish to be identified, said the policy will help neither Americans nor Iraqis. The Iranians, he said, are in Iraq to help.

This month, U.S. forces detained five Iranians in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, a U.S. military officer said.

A preliminary investigation found links between the detainees and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which has provided funds, weapons, bomb technology and training to extremist groups in Iraq, the coalition said.

Bush defends policy, asserts it's confined to Iraq

Bush reportedly approved the plan in the last couple months in an effort to be tougher with the Islamic republic.

"Some are trying to say that because we're helping ourselves in Iraq by stopping outside influence from killing our soldiers or hurting Iraqi people that we want to expand this beyond the borders," Bush said.

"That's a presumption that's simply not accurate. We believe that we can solve our problems with Iran diplomatically. And we're working to do that. As a matter of fact, we're making pretty good progress on that front," he said.

The White House has rejected calls by the Iraq Study Group to diplomatically engage Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Syria. The Bush administration says it will not meet with Iranian officials until the nation moves to end its alleged nuclear weapons program.

Iran has repeatedly denied interfering within Iraq's borders, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates backed the president in Friday remarks, saying the policy is aimed at outside forces who mean harm to U.S. and coalition forces.

"Our forces are authorized to go after those who are trying to kill them," Gates said. "If you're in Iraq and trying to kill our troops, you should consider yourself a target."

Asked whether the measure is part of an "anti-Iran strategy," Gates said he does not think so, but "we're not simply going to stand by and let people bring sophisticated IEDs [handmade bombs, or "improvised explosive devices"] into the country that can disable an Abrams tank and give them a free pass. But as we've said before, we think we can handle this inside the borders of Iraq and the operations are limited to inside the borders of Iraq."

Leaders of Iraq's Shiite Muslim community have strong ties to Iran, including powerful Iraqi cleric Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim.

Al-Hakim leads the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the Iraqi party most closely associated with Iran.

As violence between Shiites and Sunnis rises, along with insurgent attacks on U.S. and Iraq forces, Bush has ordered that 21,500 more U.S. troops go to Iraq.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, Deirdre Walsh, Terence Burke, Sam Dagher, Arwa Damon, Jomana Karadsheh and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

Source: CNN Newsource

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