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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2006, 21:09 GMT 22:09 UK
Blasts kill 14 at Baghdad airport
An Iraqi policeman surveys scene of destruction after the attacks near Baghdad airport
Two cars packed with explosives ripped through a busy car park
Fourteen people have died and six were hurt in a double suicide attack near Baghdad airport, on a day of violence that claimed at least 30 lives in Iraq.

The blasts took place in a car park close to the airport compound, the US military said.

Militants north of the capital also attacked the Iraqi foreign minister's convoy, killing two of his bodyguards.

The violence came a day after two British soldiers died in a bombing near Basra, the British army said.

The province's governor has suspended the local police chief and asked for the military commander in the area to be removed, accusing both men of having terrorist links.

But Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the BBC he did not think the Defence Ministry would follow the governor's instructions.

Police targeted

The airport attacks saw two vehicles packed with explosives detonated in a busy car park.

The nearby US army base was not believed to be a target.

Elsewhere in the capital, at least another 11 people died in a series of attacks on police patrols and a market, officials said.

In these and other incidents around the country:

  • At least five civilians are killed when a bomb aimed at a police patrol explodes on Palestine Street in the east of Baghdad

  • At least three people are killed and another 13 injured by a roadside bomb planted in the Sunni-dominated district of Adhamiya in the north of the city

  • Three civilians are killed when a bomb detonates at a vegetable market in the southern Zafaraniya district of the Iraqi capital

  • Insurgents and police clash in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, leaving one policeman dead

  • Two civilians die and nine are injured in a bomb attack targeting a US military convoy in Mosul

  • Police in Karbala find the bodies of five people who had apparently been kidnapped.

Shrines destroyed

The airport attacks came as militants launched an assault on the foreign minister's convoy as it was travelling north of the capital.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari was not in the convoy at the time

Two bodyguards were killed and another three injured, but Mr Zebari was not travelling in the motorcade at the time, police said.

Sunday's bloodshed occurred as the parliament met under Prime Minister-designate Nouri Maliki to try to form a government of national unity.

Mr Maliki says he has almost completed the line-up. He is expected to present it to MPs in the next few days.

Mr Zebari said the process had taken so long because of the need to put genuinely neutral figures in key posts.

"There is a unified view ... that both the defence and interior ministries should fall to competent people and dependable people who would be above sectarian affiliations or armed militia, and this is one of the reasons why the designate prime minister has taken time to look for his candidate," he told the BBC World Service's Newshour programme.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says much of the violence now is playing into a scenario of rising sectarian tensions between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

Sunday's blasts came after a spate of overnight bombings destroyed several Shia Muslim shrines near the city of Baquba, some 40 miles (65 km) north-east of Baghdad.

The shrine attacks were clearly yet another provocation aimed at adding fuel to the flames, our correspondent adds.

See the burnt-out vehicles caught in the explosions

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