Violence leaves five dead, 27 injured in Baghdad, Mosul
Acts of violence in Baghdad and Mosul claimed the lives of at least five people on Thursday, and left some 27 injured, while Iraqi authorities began preparations to take security responsibility for the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone, dpa reported.
Early on thursday a car bomb parked near the Madayif restaurant in north-western Baghdad exploded, killing at least four people and injuring another 25, according to the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency.
In eastern Mosul, two civilians were injured when a car bomb went off near the Iraqi army's headquarters, according to a military source.
The source told VOI that the blast also caused damage to the brigade building. Mosul, the capital city of Nineveh province, lies 405 km north of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, one US soldier died of wounds as a result of indirect fire near Mosul on Thursday, pushing up the number of US troops killed in December to 10.
Six of the 10 US soldiers killed this month died in non-combat incidents.
According to the US army, the deaths bring the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq since the March 2003 US-led invasion to 4,217.
Also in Mosul, Iraqi security forces arrested two members of al-Qaeda in Iraq who confessed to having committed crimes against civilians and security personnel, a source from Nineveh police said.
The source added that two Kalashnikov assault rifles were seized in the operation, which took place " without any resistance" in a village west of Mosul.
While pacifying these two provinces remains a challenge for both US and Iraqi forces, an Iraqi interior ministry official said on Thursday that a security commission has been set up to prepare for the transfer of the security detail of Baghdad's heavily-fortified green zone from US forces early next year.
"The Iraqi security forces will take over protection of the government's centres and utilities in the zone," Abdel Kareem Khalaf, the director of the interior ministry's National Command Center, told VOI.
The Green Zone area in central Baghdad was the centre of the Coalition Provisional Authority and remains the centre of the international presence in the city.