( AP )- A former city official was stabbed to death along with his wife and daughter in their home in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad, officials said Sunday. Elsewhere in the capital, two American soldiers were killed in separate bombings, the military said Sunday.
The knife-wielding attackers stormed the two-story house late Saturday, killing Ahmed Jwad Hashim , his wife and their daughter, and leaving a visiting nephew seriously wounded, according to police and hospital officials.
Neighbors gathered outside the white clapboard doors and trim bushes surrounding the house told AP Television News that Hashim , a Shiite engineer from Karbala , was director-general of the Baghdad municipality office until he retired about four months ago.
The slaughter occurred in Talbiyah , a middle-class neighborhood on the fringes of the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City. More details could not immediately be obtained.
One American soldier was killed Sunday in a roadside bombing in northeastern Baghdad and another was killed the day before while on foot patrol in the city's north, the U.S. military said.
Overall violence has dropped dramatically in Baghdad and surrounding areas, a decline largely attributed to an influx of U.S. troops, a Sunni movement against al- Qaida in Iraq and a cease-fire order by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al- Sadr to his Mahdi Army militia.
But sporadic attacks continue and the U.S. military has warned that the reduced threat from al- Qaida has given way to nonsectarian crimes, including kidnapping, corruption and extortion.
Facing criticism that the Iraqi government has failed to take advantage of the lull in violence to make political progress, Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki threatened to form a new government if ministers from the main Sunni bloc refused to end a boycott of his Cabinet.
Six Sunni Arab ministers quit al- Maliki's government in August to protest his perceived Shiite bias, but the main Sunni Accordance Front raised hopes it could reconsider the decision after the Iraqi parliament approved a law that would open the way for low-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to reclaim government posts and pensions.
Al- Maliki told the Shiite-run Al- Forat TV that the presidency council had given him through the end of the month to bring the Accordance Front and the secular Iraqi List back into the Cabinet.
"Political talks are continuous. We wish that the other blocs, not only the Accordance Front, but the Iraqi List, will rejoin the government," al- Maliki said in the interview Saturday.
"I was given two weeks to find a solution. A week remains. The final solution is either the ministers of the Accordance Front and the Iraqi List return or (we) will form a new government."