BAGHDAD, Iraq (May 29) - A wave of car bombings and shootings plagued Shiite and Sunni areas of Iraq on Monday, killing more than three dozen people including two CBS crew members and a U.S. soldier. The network's correspondent was seriously wounded.
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As parliament discussed the nation's disintegrating security, lawmakers pressed for the appointment of defense and interior ministers - seen as a necessary step toward Iraqi forces assuming more control so U.S.-led troops can begin withdrawing.
At least eight bombings rocked the capital in the worst wave of violence in days. A car bomb exploded as a U.S. convoy patrolled in central Baghdad, killing veteran CBS cameraman Paul Douglas, 48; soundman James Brolan, 42; and an American soldier, U.S. officials said.
Network correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 39, was critically wounded. CBS said Dozier underwent surgery at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad. She was in critical condition, but doctors were cautiously optimistic, the network said.
The CBS crew was on patrol with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, when the bomb exploded. The U.S. military said an Iraqi interpreter also was killed and six American soldiers were injured.
There were conflicting reports on whether the car was moving or parked when it detonated.
According to CBS and Iraqi police, the journalists were reporting outside their armored Humvee when the blast occurred just before noon in Tahariyat Square, a mixed area in south-central Baghdad. The blast collapsed the front end of the Humvee.
Dozens of journalists have been injured, killed or kidnapped in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Before Monday's attack killed the two Britons, the Committee to Protect Journalists had put the number killed at 69. Of those, nearly three-quarters were Iraqis, the New York-based group has said.
Another group, Reporters Without Borders, said it was deeply saddened by the deaths of the two British members of the CBS crew.
"The security situation is becoming more and more alarming for the press in Iraq," the group said.
At least 37 other people were killed nationwide, most of them in Baghdad.
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The attacks began just after dawn, with one roadside bomb killing 10 people and injuring another 12 who worked for an Iranian organization opposed to the Tehran regime, police said.
That bombing targeted a public bus near Khalis, 50 miles north of Baghdad in Diyala province, an area notorious for such attacks, provincial police said.
All the dead were workers at the Ashraf base of the Mujahedeen Khalq, or MEK. The group, made up of Iranian dissidents living in Iraq, said the dead were Iraqi workers heading to their camp.
A car bomb parked near Baghdad's main Sunni Abu Hanifa mosque killed at least nine Iraqi civilians and wounded 25, said Saif al-Janabi, director of Noaman hospital. It exploded at noon in north Baghdad's Azamiyah neighborhood and disintegrated the vehicle.
Rescue crews and Iraqi army soldiers helped carry stretchers toward waiting ambulances, AP Television News footage showed.
A bomb planted in a parked minivan killed at least seven people and wounded at least 20 at the entrance to an open-air market selling secondhand clothes in the northern Baghdad suburb of Kazimiyah.
Another parked car bomb exploded near Ibn al-Haitham college in Azamiyah, also in northern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding at least five - including four Iraqi soldiers, police Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi said.
In other attacks, a roadside bomb killed two police officers and wounded three others in Baghdad's Karradah district, while one man was killed and six were wounded when a bomb hidden in a minivan exploded.
A mortar shell exploded at a Shiite mosque in southern Baghdad's Zafraniyah district. Shiite militiamen sealed off the area and prevented police from approaching, said police Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi.
Also, gunmen in separate incidents killed two police officers in western Baghdad; two police officers, identified as former Baathists, in Amarah, 180 miles southeast of Baghdad; and police Brig. Gen. Sadiq Jaafar Salih, director of the national ID card office in Diyala, authorities said.
Iraq's parliament debated the deteriorating security situation in the capital and some of its outlying provinces but did not set up a commission to address the problem because of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's inability to appoint ministers of defense and interior - two posts that control the various security forces.
More than a week after al-Maliki's unity government took office, Iraq's ethnic, sectarian and secular parties are struggling to agree on those ministers.
"The deteriorating security situation is due to the fact that the interior and defense ministries are still unfilled posts," Shiite legislator Baha al-Araji said.
The Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry, which controls the police forces, has been promised to that community, while Sunni Arabs are to get the defense ministry, overseeing the army.
It is hoped the balance will enable al-Maliki to move ahead with a plan for Iraqis to take on all security duties during the next 18 months. He wants to try to attract army recruits from the Sunni Arab minority, which provides the core of the insurgency.
Nadira al-Ani, a member of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party, called for the defense minister, who is expected to be a Sunni Arab, to be given more power.
"I certainly hope that the defense minister will be a strong character ... to create a balance," she said during a round-table discussion between female Iraqi legislators and British human rights envoy Ann Clwyd in the heavily secured Green Zone, where Iraqi government offices and the U.S. Embassy is located.
5/29/2006 15:29 EDT
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