North of Baghdad, another roadside bomb struck an Iraqi army patrol, killing three soldiers, an officer said.
Violence in Iraq has dropped to levels not seen since January 2006, just before the bombing of a Shiite mosque in Samarra unleashed large-scale sectarian bloodshed that left thousands dead. But roadside bombings, targeted killings and abductions remain daily occurrences, and American officials have warned that without progress toward power-sharing agreements among Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds, the security gains may be unsustainable.
But attempts to reconcile Iraq’s fractious politicians have proven difficult for the Shiite-dominated government. Long-running disputes boiled over this past week when Iraqi troops surrounded the home of one of Iraq’s most powerful Sunni Arab lawmakers after the discovery of a car bomb near his office. US and Iraqi officials said the keys to the vehicle were found on one of Adnan al-Dulaimi’s bodyguards.
On Sunday, al-Dulaimi accused the government of trying to silence him with what he described as virtual house arrest.
“They want to keep me silent and not raise my voice to defend the rights of the Iraqi people and detainees,” al-Dulaimi, head of parliament’s largest Sunni bloc, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his house in western Baghdad. The Shiite-dominated government has insisted al-Dulaimi is being held for his own protection, since his security detail was arrested after the discovery of the bomb. But his Sunni allies in the Iraqi Accordance Front accuse their Shiite peers of waging a smear campaign against him.
Al-Dulaimi said he was blocked Sunday from leaving to attend a parliament session for the second day running, and accused the Iraqi troops guarding his home of turning away relatives trying to visit.