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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 July 2006, 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK
Shia workers gunned down in Iraq
Iraqi police officers inspect a damaged vehicle at the site of multiple bomb explosions in east Baghdad on 22 July 2006
Iraq's reconciliation committee is seeking to end the cycle of violence
Seven Shia construction workers have been killed and one injured by gunmen in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Gunmen burst into a house they were working on in the western district of Khadra, a Sunni area, an interior ministry official told AFP news agency.

At least eight other people were killed in attacks around Iraq, including two US soldiers and three Iraqi policemen.

The violence came as a reconciliation committee, set up by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, met for the first time.

The aim of the committee is to try to unite opposing religious and political factions in the hope of putting an end to insurgent attacks and sectarian violence.

Iraq's national security adviser, Mouwafaq al-Rubaie, admitted to the BBC that Iraq was facing a sectarian conflict, but not a sectarian or civil war.

"This is al-Qaeda's objective... to drive a wedge between the Shia and the Sunni. They want to trigger a sectarian war in this country. I don't think they're going to be successful," he said.

In other violence, an Iraqi civilian and a US soldier were killed in separate roadside bomb attacks in eastern Baghdad.

A second US soldier was shot dead by militants while on patrol south of Baghdad, the military said.

Three police officers were killed and five injured in the restive town of Baquba, 65km (40 miles) north of Baghdad in a bombing and shooting in the main market area.

A civilian was killed when gunmen opened fire in the northern city of Mosul.

And in the southern city of Kut, an Iraqi soldier was killed and four others were wounded when their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb.


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