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

(RFE/RL) 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)

Sectarian Iraq

Sectarian Iraq

Click to enlarge the image.

SUNNI, SHI'A: Iraq is riven along sectarian lines, faults that frequently produce violent clashes and are a constant source of tension. Sectarian concerns drive much of Iraqi politics and are the main threat to the country's fragile security environment.

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to view RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.