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Memorial Day

8 US troops were killed as Baghdad exploded in violence.

BAGHDAD — A suicide car bomber struck a busy Baghdad commercial district Monday, killing at least 21 people, setting vehicles on fire and damaging a nearby Sunni shrine, police and hospital officials said.

The blast went off at 2 p.m. in the Sinak market area on the east side of the Tigris River, just as U.S. and Iranian diplomats were wrapping up a historic meeting aimed at ending the violence wracking the country.

Insurgents carried out several mortar and car bombing attacks throughout the capital Monday and even waged a lengthy gunbattle with police in broad daylight. The wave of violence, which killed 36 people across Baghdad, came despite a nearly 15-week-old U.S.-led security crackdown in the city.

Another 33 bullet-riddled bodies were found handcuffed, blindfolded and showing signs of torture in different parts of Baghdad, the apparent victims of ongoing sectarian violence.

May 2007 at this rate will be the third-deadliest month of the war. The last six months including May are the worst six month period for US deaths of the war, and the last two months in a row have seen over 100 US troops killed, a first.

UPDATE: It was ten US troops killed in Iraq yesterday, not eight. Now it’s been announced that five Britons have been kidnapped.

The men were snatched when police vehicles surrounded a finance ministry office on Palestine Street in the heart of Baghdad and a squad of men wearing police uniforms stormed the building, an Iraqi official said.

The four were taken away at gunpoint and driven off by men in the recently issued newly designed fatigues of the National Police, a heavily armed interior ministry paramilitary unit, he added.

A ministry official said the commandos had gained entry to the building by telling staff they were on a mission for the Commission on Public Integrity, Iraq’s main anti-graft agency.

Gunmen in police commando uniforms have been implicated in several high-profile mass kidnaps, and the latest attack will increase fears that rogue units infiltrated by illegal militias are running amok in Iraq.

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