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From: Gina (
Subject:         'Scores die' in Iraq bomb attacks
Date: August 14, 2007 at 2:17 pm PST

At least 175 people have been killed in a series of suicide bomb attacks in northern Iraq, Iraq's military says.

The blasts apparently targeted a Kurdish religious minority, the Yazidi sect, near Mosul. At least four blasts hit areas which house the community.

A Mosul police source told the BBC that there had been "large loss of life".

Tensions between the sect and local Muslims have grown since a Yazidi girl was reportedly stoned by her community in April for converting to Islam.

Officials said at least one of the attacks near Mosul involved a lorry laden with fuel.

Dozens of other people were hurt in the blasts, which destroyed or set fire to a number of buildings.

Elsewhere, five US service personnel were killed when their helicopter came down near Falluja, west of Baghdad.

The US said it was still investigating the cause of the crash, but the CH-47 Chinook had been on a test flight after routine maintenance.

The US had already announced the deaths of four other soldiers in two separate incidents in Nineveh province and Baghdad.

A separate suicide bomb attack on a Baghdad bridge, meanwhile, sent cars plunging into the water and killed at least 10 people, Iraqi police said.

The Thiraa Dijla bridge in Taji lies on the main road from Baghdad to Mosul.

Fresh attacks

In another insurgent attack in the capital, some 50 gunmen in uniform were reported to have kidnapped a deputy oil minister and several other officials.

Reports said the men stormed an oil ministry compound in the capital in 17 official vehicles.

The US military also said on Tuesday that its troops had killed four gunmen in Baghdad's Sadr City. But local officials said three civilians died in the raid.

They said one of the victims was a young girl sleeping with her family on the roof.

The US military denied killing any civilians in the raid.

Political move

Separately, three Iraqi ministers from the mixed Sunni-Shia Iraqi National List of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi unexpectedly attended a government session.

They were among five ministers who last week began the boycott of Nouri Maliki's government over what they said was its failure to end sectarian violence.

The move comes as politicians from some of Iraq's main political parties are holding informal talks ahead of a summit called this week by Mr Maliki to try to resolve their differences.

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