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60 Suspects Arrested at Iraq Funeral

From the Associated Press

U.S. soldiers raided a funeral and detained 60 men suspected of involvement in car bombings, the U.S. command said Saturday, announcing the first major roundup of alleged insurgents since troop reinforcements began arriving for a new crackdown in Baghdad.

Bomb and gun attacks killed 16 people across Iraq on Saturday, and police reported finding 15 victims of apparent sectarian violence, including a dozen bodies pulled out of the Tigris River. Two U.S. soldiers were killed south of Baghdad.

U.S. commanders said they were rushing nearly 12,000 more American and Iraqi soldiers into the capital.

But despite the rise in sectarian fighting and other violence, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he would not rule out U.S. troop reductions this year. Pace, who arrived here Saturday, said he would consult with top commanders on the outlook for a turnaround in the violence and the need for U.S. troops.

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A statement by the U.S. military said the arrests in Baghdad were made Friday in Arab Jabour, a southern neighborhood that is a stronghold of Sunni insurgents.

The 60 detained men are believed to be associated with a senior Iraqi Al Qaeda leader in a cell that “specializes in bomb-making,” the statement said. “The group has been reported to be planning and conducting training for future attacks.”

On Saturday, the bound and blindfolded bodies of 12 men were found in the Tigris in Suwayrah, 30 miles southeast of Baghdad, at one of the metal grills fixed in the river.

Three more bodies were discovered Saturday, one in Baghdad and two in Kifil, in Hillah province south of the capital.

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The U.S. military said the two American soldiers were killed when their foot patrol was hit by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad, bringing to 23 the number of Americans killed in Iraq this month.


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