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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Fresh attacks kill 19 in Baghdad
Mother of three young brothers killed in minibus attack
A mother of three victims went to hospital to retrieve their bodies
More than 19 people have been killed in attacks in the Iraqi capital, including four US soldiers, as a national martial arts team was kidnapped at gunpoint.

In one attack, at least six labourers and their driver were killed by gunmen who stopped a minibus in west Baghdad.

At least seven were killed in a blast by near a police patrol. The Americans died in a separate roadside bombing.

A team of tae kwon do specialists was seized on the road from Jordan in west Iraq, a stronghold of the insurgency.

The kidnappers demanded a ransom of $100,000 (53,000) in return for freeing the team, a member of Iraq's Olympic committee said.

Baquba locator

Reports say the athletes were members of a private sports club that hopes to send athletes to the Olympic Games. They were returning from a training camp in Jordan.

Most of the victims of the Baghdad minibus attack were mechanics on their way to work.

The gunmen ordered all of them off the vehicle in a sparsely populated area and shot them one after another, a police spokesman said.

Reports said they were all members of the same family - including three young brothers.

Shrine attack

Meanwhile a roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol in northern Baghdad's Waziriya neighbourhood, killing at least three police officers and four bystanders.

Aftermath of Baghdad bomb
An explosion in north Baghdad targeted a police patrol

Details of the attack on US troops to the north-west of Baghdad were not released. An Iraqi interpreter died as well as the four Americans.

US command said earlier said that a US sailor had died on Wednesday in western Iraq.

There are reports that a Sunni shrine has been blown up near Baquba, days after six Shia shrines were damaged in the area.

Police said bombs exploded inside the small Sharhabil bin Hassan shrine in Kanan, north-east of Baquba.

Sectarian anger erupted in February in Iraq when bombs severely damaged a Shia shrine in Samarra, triggering reprisals against Sunnis and dramatically escalating civil strife.

The latest violence came as PM-designate Nouri Maliki prepared to unveil a unity government including members of all the country's main ethnic and religious groups.

Political progress five months after elections could end a lengthy power vacuum in which violence has raged in many parts of Iraq.


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