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Suspected Sunni Gunmen Kill Sunni Men Outside Baghdad


Suspected Sunni gunmen in Iraq have killed six men from the same family in an attack outside Baghdad. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from northern Iraq that the U.S. military in Iraq says aircraft bombed a suspected al-Qaida-linked bomb-making team and an anti-aircraft team.

U.S. military officials say the strike on the house in the Arab Jabour area north of Baghdad targeted a bomb-making cell blamed for a "devastating number" of car bomb attacks in the capital city. The military said a coalition patrol was fired on by the suspected insurgents. After the patrol was unable to stop the enemy fire, two bombs were dropped on the insurgent position.

Near the town of Taji north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said, an airstrike targeted suspected members of al-Qaida in Iraq, who have been responsible for threats against coalition aircraft. Reports say several vehicles and an anti-aircraft artillery weapon were destroyed. At least eight coalition helicopters have been shot down by insurgents in Iraq this year.

Also Saturday, the U.S. military reported that a security detainee at the Camp Cropper prison died Friday after an attack by fellow inmates. U.S. officials say the killing is under investigation.

In Baghdad, U.S. officials say a bomb attack in central Baghdad killed three American soldiers.

South of Baghdad, in Yusufiya, Iraqi police say, suspected Sunni gunmen killed six Sunni men in a raid on a house. Police said the men - who were from the same family - had received threats for taking part in a reconciliation meeting with Shi'ites last month.

Iraqi officials Saturday praised the security operation under way in Baghdad. Shi'ite Interior Minister Jawad Polani told Iraqi television that officials hope new screening equipment will help find banned materials.

He says he is sure that, in the coming weeks, there will continue to be more positive changes. He says Baghdad residents will also have more confidence when they see the new screening machines at checkpoints that are designed to find bomb components.

The minister did not say what kind of screening devices would be used.

Iraqi officials are also working on resolving some of Baghdad's other problems during the security operation. Salaam al Zobai, a Sunni deputy to the prime minister, told Iraq television that officials are looking at ways to solve the city's crippling electricity shortages.

He says, there are still many problems with electricity that have not been resolved, partly because of equipment shortages. But, he says he thinks that in the next week officials will begin bringing in solar panels as an alternative electricity source.

Baghdad residents say the city now provides less than three hours of electricity per day.

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