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Mosul Military Operations To Begin Soon

(file photo) 5 January 2005 -- Qassim Dawud, the interim Iraqi minister of state for national security, says Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led troops, will soon begin military operations against insurgents in the northern city of Mosul.

"I'd like to announce that we will begin soon our military operations to crack down on insurgents in Mosul and our brothers in Mosul will see our operations to get rid of the criminals who spread instability in Mosul," Dawud said.

Mosul emerged as a major trouble spot, with insurgents overpowering police and attacking police stations, during the U.S.-Iraqi offensive to retake the city of Al-Fallujah in November 2004.

Also today, a member of Iraq's main Sunni Muslim party was killed after being abducted from his pharmacy in Mosul.

The Iraqi Islamic Party said Omar Mahmud Abdallah, a cleric and scholar, was found dead today of a gunshot to the head. The party recently announced its withdrawal from upcoming national elections.

Pre-Election Violence

The Iraqi national security minister, reacting to yesterday's assassination of the governor of Baghdad, also vowed that insurgents will not be permitted to disrupt efforts to bring freedom and stability to Iraq.

In addition to the assassination, yesterday saw the deaths of more than 20 Iraqis and five U.S. soldiers in a series of attacks.

Today, officials in Iraq say a car bomb exploded near a police academy during a graduation ceremony, killing at least 13 people. The attack happened outside a gate at the academy today in Hilla, a city about 95 kilometers south of Baghdad.

Officials of the interim Iraqi government and the U.S. and British governments said there would be no delay in Iraq's 30 January elections, despite the violence.



Is Insurgent Violence Having Desired Effect On Iraqi Elections?

For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".