Source AP ©

Bombs strike Shiite targets in Baghdad killing at least seven people and wounding two dozen

Bombs struck Shiite targets in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least seven people and wounding two dozen, and an adviser to a prominent Sunni politician was gunned down in a western section of the capital, police said.

The blasts occurred a day after the U.S. military said its forces killed an estimated 49 militants during a dawn raid to capture an Iranian-linked militia chief in Baghdad's Sadr City Shiite enclave, one of the highest tolls for a single operation since U.S. President George W. Bush declared an end to active combat in 2003. The U.S. military said the militia chief was not captured or killed.

Iraqi police and hospital officials, who often overstate casualties, reported only 15 deaths including three children. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said all the dead were civilians.

The U.S. military said it was not aware of any civilian casualties, and the discrepancy in the death tolls and accounts of what happened could not be reconciled. American commanders reported no U.S. casualties.

Al-Dabbagh said on CNN that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, had met with the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, to protest the action.

The violence highlighted the double frustrations threatening to stoke tensions among Iraq's majority Islamic sect, with Shiites complaining that U.S. raids targeting militants have killed civilians even as the government has failed to stop the bombings. The numbers of such attacks have dropped since a U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown began eight months ago but suspected insurgents continue to find ways to stage the explosions.

The first bomb on Monday occurred about 8:45 a.m. when a bomb exploded in a square frequented by municipal workers from a nearby building in the mainly Shiite neighborhood of Zafaraniyah in southeastern Baghdad. Within minutes, another blast struck police arriving at the scene to help with rescue efforts.

In all, three civilians were killed and 11 people wounded, including four policemen, in the blasts, police said.

A roadside bomb struck a minibus near Kahramanah Square in Karradah, another predominantly Shiite neighborhood in central Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 12, police said.

The blast tore through the minibus, which was ferrying passengers from Karradah to another square in Baghdad, and the door on the driver's side was splattered with blood, according to AP Television News footage. Police said three nearby cars and several stores also were damaged.

Police also announced that gunmen killed Ahmed al-Mashhadani, an adviser to the leader of the largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament, Adnan al-Dulaimi. The adviser was shot to death Thursday by gunmen in two cars as he left a bus station after dropping off relatives.

Police initially said he was killed Sunday, but al-Mashhadani's party, the hardline Congress of the People of Iraq, issued a statement saying he was killed Thursday and his body was handed over by the hospital on Sunday.

Al-Dulaimi confirmed al-Mashhadani's death in a telephone call but provided no details.

Dozens of al-Dulaimi's supporters and relatives of al-Mashhadani held a funeral procession on Monday.

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