A suicide bomber killed 15 people, including at least six U.S.-backed Sunni Arab fighters, Sunday night near a crowded outdoor market in eastern Baghdad, security officials and community leaders said.
At least 30 people were wounded in the attack near the historic Abu Hanifa Mosque, in the Sunni district of Adhamiya. Women and children were among the dead, said Abu Abed, head of the U.S.-funded Sons of Iraq security group in Adhamiya.
At least 16 Sons of Iraq have been killed in Adhamiya since last winter when the group was founded, Abu Abed said. He warned that al-Qaida in Iraq was regrouping in Baghdad.
“We informed American forces al-Qaida is reorganizing, and these are the results,” he said.
Israel approves prisoner release
Israel’s Cabinet on Sunday approved the release of about 200 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Abbas he would free some of the 9,000 Palestinians held by Israel to help energize peace talks.
The prisoner issue is an emotional one for Palestinians, many of whom know someone behind bars or have been imprisoned themselves. Palestinians see Israel’s justice system as unfair and see prisoners as heroes.
A statement issued after the meeting said the release was intended “to demonstrate that the release of prisoners can be achieved through talks and not through violence and the kidnapping of soldiers,” a reference to the capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas-linked militants in a cross-border raid two years ago. Hamas, a rival of Abbas, is demanding release of hundreds of prisoners in exchange for the soldier.
Americans protest Bible confiscation
A group of American Christians who had more than 300 Bibles confiscated by Chinese officials when they arrived in China is refusing to leave the airport until they get the books back, their leader said today.
Pat Klein said he and three others from his Vision Beyond Borders group spent Sunday night at the airport in the southwestern city of Kunming after customs officers took the Bibles from their checked luggage.
The Bibles were printed in Chinese, Klein said.
A woman on duty at Kunming airport’s customs office confirmed late Sunday that 315 Bibles were found in the passengers’ checked baggage. The officer, who would only give her last name, Xiao, said authorities were just “taking care” of the Bibles and provided no further details.