Monday, July 31, 2006

Iraqi Interior Minister Faces Criticism

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's interior minister faced calls for his dismissal Monday because of the security crisis in Baghdad and surrounding towns, with the violence blamed mostly on sectarian conflict between Shiites and Sunnis. An Iraqi vice president said Monday that Cabinet changes would be made soon but did not specify which ministers would be replaced.

Gunmen in military uniforms kidnapped dozens of people in an upscale, mostly Shiite Baghdad neighborhood Monday, and shooting and bombings across the country killed at least 19 people, including four Iraqi soldiers.

The kidnapping was carried out by gunmen in military fatigues who drove to the main shopping area of Karradah in 15 vehicles and split into two groups. One went into a mobile phone shop and the other into the office next door of the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce, said police Lt. Thair Mahmoud.

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