Iraq Sunnis halt involvement in assembly - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Iraq Sunnis halt involvement in assembly

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Posted: Sunday, July 2, 2006 8:23 am | Updated: 3:31 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament said Sunday it was suspending its participation in the legislature until a kidnapped colleague was released, dealing a blow to efforts to involve the disaffected minority in the political process.

Iraq also released a most-wanted list that included Saddam Hussein's wife and eldest daughter, one of his closest allies and the new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. The government offered rewards of up to $10 million for many on the list.

In another development, the U.S. military confirmed that slain terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been buried "in accordance with Muslim customs and traditions," but they gave no more details, saying the issue was now in the hands of the Iraqi government.

Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie told The Associated Press that al-Zarqawi, who was killed June 7 in a U.S. airstrike northeast of Baghdad, was buried in a "secret location" in the capital.

Al-Zarqawi's older brother demanded that his body be transferred to his native Jordan and accused the United States of lying.

"Bush took his body to the United States," Sayel al-Khalayleh told the AP from his home in the Jordanian city of Zarqa.

"Even if he is buried in Iraq, we will continue to ask for the body to be transferred and buried in Jordan. He should be buried in his own country."

Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front, called on other lawmakers to join the boycott, saying security officials bore responsibility for Saturday's abduction of legislator Tayseer al-Mashhadani and seven bodyguards.

"We in the Iraqi Accordance Front have decided to suspend our participation in parliament meetings until our sister is released," al-Dulaimi said after all the members of the bloc walked out of Sunday's session.

The Iraqi Accordance Front holds 44 seats in the 275-member assembly and is part of the national unity government.

Al-Mashhadani was seized after her convoy was stopped by gunmen at a checkpoint in a Shiite area of eastern Baghdad, just a few miles from where a huge car bomb struck an outdoor market, killing at least 66 people and wounding about 100.

That was the deadliest attack since the new national unity government took office six weeks ago, and it was one of the biggest this year.

At least 11 female parliament members from different blocs also held a news conference to denounce the kidnapping and demand the government take action.

"We call on the government and the security agencies to take responsibility and work to release Tayseer today rather than tomorrow otherwise we will have another stance in front of the media," Safiyah al-Suhail said.

Deputy Prime Minister Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie said the interior minister and several other security chiefs decided to hold a comprehensive review on Wednesday of a security operation launched last month.

He said they also broached the problem of Shiite militias blamed for the rampant sectarian and ethnic violence.

"We will confront any unlawful groups," he said. "There are some groups that try to make use of the patriotic resistance in order to carry out terrorist acts and such groups are rejected."

On Sunday, moderate Shiite legislator Iyad Jamal al-Din escaped an assassination attempt after a roadside bomb missed his convoy but wounded three people in Baghdad's downtown Karradah neighborhood.

Iraqi police and lawmaker Hassan al-Rubaie also confirmed that Liqa Yassin, a Shiite lawmaker from the alliance, had escaped an abduction attempt in the insurgent stronghold neighborhood of Dora in southern Baghdad.

A car bomb targeting a police patrol in Karradah also missed its target but wounded eight civilians, police Col. Abbas Mohammed said.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed Col. Muthanna Faeq Abdul-Razzaq, the assistant commander of the Iraqi army's 7th Division, and wounded his driver, police said. In a shootout between gunmen and Iraqi police, two policemen were killed and six were wounded, Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq said.

The most-wanted list issued Sunday included 41 names. The largest reward was $10 million for Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former top official in the Saddam regime who has eluded capture since the U.S.-led invasion. Al-Douri was believed to have played a major role in launching the insurgency.

"We are releasing this list so that our people can know their enemies," National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie said, adding that countries hosting the fugitives and Interpol had been informed.

The government also offered a $50,000 reward for Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who replaced al-Zarqawi as leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. The announcement came just two days after the U.S. administration approved up to $5 million in exchange for al-Masri, whose real name is Abu Hamza al-Muhajer.

"Those people are carrying out bombings and random killings as they aim to inflict damage on the Iraqi people and ignite a sectarian war between Shiites and Sunnis," al-Rubaie said in announcing the list.

The ousted president's wife, Sajida Khairallah Tulfah, who is believed to be in Qatar, and his eldest daughter, Raghad, who has been living in Jordan, also were named, but no reward was offered for their capture.

The national security adviser also said authorities were closing in on the Egyptian-born al-Masri.

"We were able to infiltrate his network," he said.

In other developments Sunday:

- Attackers fired nine Katyusha rockets that landed near Baghdad's Abu Hanifa mosque, the most important Sunni shrine in Iraq.

- Clashes between insurgents and Iraqi police southwest of Kirkuk left one policeman and two insurgents dead.

- The Defense Ministry said 103 insurgency suspects were detained in operations during the past 24 hours.

- A bomb struck a house in Baqouba, killing two people and wounding four. One well worker also was killed and one was wounded in a drive-by shooting in the city, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

- Gunmen killed a man accused of collaborating with the American forces in Garma, west of Baghdad.

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