A mortar shell has exploded in the business district of Baghdad, killing seven people, including two children. At least 42 people were also badly injured by the blast in the city's busy Rasheed Street, the Iraqi interim Government said.
Col Adnan Abdul-Rahman, of the Interior Ministry, said three of the bodies were burned beyond recognition. He added that around 30 people were being treated in hospital following the explosion.
At least seven cars were destroyed and a building was set ablaze by the explosion, which was initially thought to have been caused by a car bomb.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Iraqis due to travel to Najaf to help negotiate an end to fighting has been forced to delay its mission, reports Sky News.
Accordingly Associated Press, the conference delegation to Najaf was bringing a peace plan that demanded al-Sadr pull his men out of the shrine, where they have taken refuge, disband his militia and join in the country's political process in exchange for an amnesty for his fighters. Al-Sadr aides said they welcomed the mission, but not the peace proposal.
The three-day National Conference in Baghdad was supposed to be a revolutionary moment in Iraq's democratic transformation post-Saddam Hussein, an unprecedented gathering of 1,300 Iraqis from all ethnic and religious groups for vigorous debate over their country's course.
It also was intended to increase the legitimacy of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government, which is deeply dependent on American troops and money even after the official U.S. occupation ended.
But the violence in Najaf, which resumed Sunday after cease-fire talks broke down, has diverted the gathering's attention, infroms CBS News.
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