April 20, 2005 in Nation/World

Car bomb kills 2 U.S. soldiers

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Iraq’s National Assembly meets in Baghdad on Tuesday, the third day of efforts to set up a new government.
(Full-size photo)

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi lawmakers adjourned in protest Tuesday and demanded an apology after a Shiite legislator linked to a radical anti-American cleric tearfully said he was handcuffed and humiliated at a U.S. checkpoint.

Meanwhile, two U.S. soldiers were killed in a car-bomb attack.

It was the third consecutive day that Iraq’s interim parliament was sidetracked from setting up a government and constitution.

Beyond the sandbags and blast walls of the U.S.-protected Green Zone, where the National Assembly meets, an attack by a suicide car bomber near an American patrol in southern Baghdad killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded four, officials said.

The explosion occurred in the Al-Amil area of the capital. Seven Iraqi civilians were injured.

Elsewhere, at least a dozen Iraqis were killed and more than 60 wounded in a series of attacks, including two that targeted the army and its recruits.

Al Qaeda in Iraq, the nation’s most feared terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the worst attack, a suicide bombing near an army recruitment center in Baghdad that police said killed at least six Iraqis and wounded 44.

A car bomb in western Baghdad targeting a U.S. patrol wounded seven Iraqis, officials said.

In the National Assembly, lawmaker Fattah al-Sheik cried as he described being stopped at a checkpoint Tuesday. He claimed a U.S. soldier kicked his car, mocked the legislature, handcuffed him and held him by the neck.

“What happened to me represents an insult to the whole National Assembly that was elected by the Iraqi people. This shows that the democracy we are enjoying is fake,” al-Sheik said.

Al-Sheik’s small party has been linked to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who led uprisings against the U.S.-led coalition in 2004. On his way home after the session, gunmen fired on al-Sheik’s convoy, but he escaped unharmed, police and his party said.

The U.S. military said its initial investigation indicated that in the morning, al-Sheik got into an altercation with a coalition translator at the checkpoint. U.S. soldiers tried to separate them and “briefly held on to the legislator,” while preventing another member of al-Sheik’s party from getting out of his vehicle, a military statement said.

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