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Car Bomb Explodes in Baghdad


Iraqi troops backed by U.S. forces have raided a Sunni mosque in the Iraqi capital, killing at least two people. On Thursday, the Iraqi interim government warned that Islamic clerics who incite violence will be considered participants in terrorism. Meanwhile, an apparent suicide car bomb has blown up near an Iraqi police patrol, killing at least one person and wounding four others.

The Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad is known for its anti-American agitation and support for the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

Following Friday prayers, Iraqi forces backed by U.S. Troops raided the mosque. At least two people were killed in the raid and several others were wounded. Witnesses say about 40 people were arrested in the raid.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, an apparent suicide car bomber killed at least one Iraqi policeman Friday, when the car smashed into a police patrol. The attack is the latest in a string of suicide car bombings targeting Iraqi police.

Meanwhile in the city of Fallujah, U.S. troops say they have discovered a complex believed to have been a terrorist training facility and command center. The command and control center is believed to have been used by wanted militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Nearby, a workshop was discovered that appeared to have been used to make car bombs. A sport utility vehicle, registered in Texas, was being rigged with explosives.

The compound also contained a makeshift classroom, where flight plans were discovered along with instructions on how to shoot down planes.

Letters were found. One allegedly written by Mr. al-Zarqawi giving instructions to two of his lieutenants. Another letter asked for help and money from the Jordanian-born terrorist leader. Notebooks, computers, photographs and other documents were also discovered.

American military and Iraqi interim government officials have said they believe the wanted terrorist escaped from Fallujah prior to the U.S.-led assault on the rebellious city.

U.S. military officials said Friday that about 1200 insurgents had been killed in Fallujah, and more than 1000 others were taken into custody.

Lieutenant General John Sattler, the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said American and Iraqi forces had "broken the back" of Iraq's insurgency by taking away Fallujah as a safe haven for insurgents.

North of Baghdad, in Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, U.S. and Iraqi forces are continuing their effort to reclaim control of the city from insurgents.

Iraqi commandos raided a hospital in Mosul, believed to have been used to treat injured insurgents. Three people were taken into custody.

Tuesday, American and Iraqi forces began a major military offensive in Mosul, after insurgents had seized control of nine police stations, as well as political offices and bridges.

On Friday, most of the bridges had been reopened to traffic and relative calm was being reported. However, a group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed to have beheaded two Iraqi soldiers in Mosul. The claim was made on an Islamist Internet site and said the beheadings occurred in broad daylight and in front of a large crowd of people.

Northwest of Baghdad, in the city of Haditha, insurgents blew up the mayor's office and the police command center. They left behind leaflets that warned anyone wearing a police uniform, or reports to a police station, would be killed.

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