Salam Faraj, AFP
Last updated: 16 May, 2011

Iraq violence kills four, wounds two Norwegians

A spate of attacks in Iraq on Monday has killed four people, including a Christian whose body was mutilated, while two Norwegians hurt in a Baghdad bomb blast are among at least 16 injured, officials say.

The Christian construction worker’s mutilated corpse was found in the oil-rich ethnically mixed northern city of Kirkuk after he was kidnapped at the weekend.

An Iraqi guard was killed in the morning explosion in the eastern neighbourhood of Baghdad Jadidah that wounded the Norwegians, who were working as consultants for Iraq’s water resources ministry, an interior ministry official said.

A doctor at Al-Kindi hospital in central Baghdad confirmed one person had died and four others, including two foreigners, suffered wounds from a bomb blast but were in stable condition.

Hospital officials did not allow journalists access to the building where the wounded were being treated.

But a spokesperson for the Norwegian embassy in Baghdad confirmed two of the wounded were Norwegians who were working as advisers to the water resources ministry.

“They are both getting medical help and will eventually be fine,” the spokesperson said. “One will need an operation on his leg, but will be OK.”

In a separate attack, a traffic policeman was killed by gunmen using silenced weapons in the northern Baghdad neighbourhood of Al-Utayfiyah, the interior ministry official said.

Also on Monday, a roadside bomb targeting Baghdad provincial council chief Kamil al-Zaidi blew up as the politician’s convoy was on the edge of the Shiite neighbourhood of Sadr City, according to the official.

Eight people were wounded in the attack, including three policemen, but Zaidi was unharmed.

Another roadside bomb targeting a police patrol near Al-Wathiq square in central Baghdad wounded four people, including three policemen.

And in the northern city of Kirkuk, insurgents killed and mutilated a Christian construction worker who was kidnapped at the weekend, police and medical officials said.

Ashur Issa Yaqub, a 29-year-old Chaldean Christian, had been snatched on Saturday in the oil-rich ethnically-mixed northern city of Kirkuk, with his kidnappers demanding a $100,000 ransom.

Yaqub was found with his head nearly completely cut off, according to provincial police chief Major General Jamal Taher Bakr and Kirkuk province health chief Sadiq Omar Rasul.

Also in Kirkuk province, a Kurdish man was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Tuz Khurmatu, the town’s police chief Colonel Ali al-Hamdani said. It was unclear why the man was targeted.

Violence in Iraq is markedly down from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common, especially in Baghdad. A total of 211 people were killed in attacks in April, according to official figures.