Suicide truck blast kills 28, mostly children, in northern Iraq

From: http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/08/06/iraq.main/index.html

Aug 6, 2007

Samir Jawaad, 6, is treated Monday after a roadside bomb exploded in the Iraqi capital's Zafaraniya district.

AGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden truck into a village near the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar on Monday, killing at least 28 people and wounding 50 others, an Iraqi army official said.

At least 19 of those killed were children, Tal Afar Mayor Najim Abdullah al-Jabouri said.

The blast left a 10-foot crater in the ground and damaged 10 homes in the Shiite Turkmen village of Qubbak, about six miles (10 kilometers) northeast of Tal Afar, the army official told CNN.

In Baghdad (http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/baghdad), three roadside bombs detonated in various neighborhoods, killing at least 11 people and wounding 33 others, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry. See a map of where the bombing happened » (http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/08/06/iraq.main/index.html#cnnSTCOther1)

The deadliest of the blasts came in southeast Baghdad's Zafaraniya district, where eight people were killed and 16 were wounded.

Another bomb in the Ghadir neighborhood of southeastern Baghdad killed three people and wounded 11 others.

Political turmoil

Meanwhile, Cabinet ministers from the political party led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi boycotted a government meeting Monday, in the latest challenge to current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's year-old coalition.

Iyad Jamal al-Deen, a member of parliament from Allawi's Iraqi National List, said the party's four ministers have not resigned from the government, as six members of the leading Sunni Arab party did last week.

But he said al-Maliki's government has yet to meet the demands Allawi's party made in February, including the passage of legislation that would allow former members of executed dictator Saddam Hussein's Baath Party to return to public life and other measures considered key to national reconciliation.

Allawi's list, composed of secular politicians from both the Sunni and Shiite communities, holds 25 seats in the 275-member Council of Representatives, Iraq's parliament.

It held five seats in al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated Cabinet when it took office, but Justice Minister Hashem al-Shibli resigned in March after complaining that sectarian and regional divisions were paralyzing the government.

The party still holds the state, communications, human rights and science and technology portfolios.

The boycott follows last Wednesday's withdrawal of the country's largest Sunni bloc, the Iraqi Accord Front, from al-Maliki's government. The group held six seats in the 39-member Cabinet, including a deputy prime minister's post.

The Sunni bloc has been critical of legislative stalemates and the government's failure to pass national reconciliation bills. In announcing its withdrawal, it said the "arrogance" of al-Maliki's government has prevented any meaningful reforms that could bring about a political settlement of the country's four-year insurgency and widespread sectarian warfare.

The Sunni bloc's departure was the second political walkout from the al-Maliki government. Six Cabinet ministers from the bloc of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr left the government earlier this year.

Al-Maliki has appointed acting ministers to replace al-Sadr's followers, but has not yet appointed replacements for the Sunni ministers. The country's top Sunni politician, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, is staying in his post for the time being, and has told President Bush that he would keep his party engaged in the political process, his office said.