Security men killed in Baghdad, 2 Norwegians hurt

May 16, 2011 - 5:44 AM

BAGHDAD (AP) — Two members of Iraq's security forces were killed and two Norwegian contractors injured Monday in attacks in Baghdad, part of a recent uptick in violence as U.S. troops prepare to leave the country by year's end, authorities said.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, meanwhile, police Brig. Gen. Adil Zein al-Abiden said the body of a Christian man who was kidnapped late last week was found mutilated near a deserted amusement park. Kidnappers had said they wanted $100,000 for his safe release.

Violence has dropped across Iraq from just a few years ago, when dozens of people were killed daily in sectarian attacks. But bombings and shootings still happen every day. Government and security officials are under increasing threat of assassinations as insurgents seek to highlight Iraq's shaky stability as U.S. troops prepare to depart the country at the end of the year.

In Monday's attacks, an Iraqi guard died at al-Kindi hospital about 90 minutes after the convoy he was trying to protect hit a roadside bomb on a major highway in eastern Baghdad, officials said.

Two Norwegians along with two Iraqi guards were injured in the blast. A hospital official said they were in stable condition and being treated for shrapnel wounds.

The convoy was headed to Iraq's water resources ministry, which had hired the Norwegians as consultants. The ministry is located in central Baghdad.

In a separate attack, police say an Iraqi traffic policeman was killed in a drive-by shooting an hour earlier in a mostly Shiite area in the capital's northwest.

And the chairman of Baghdad's provincial council, Kamil al-Zaidi, missed being struck by another roadside bomb as he left his home in a Shiite area in eastern Baghdad. However, police said the explosion struck a nearby police patrol and a passing car, wounding nine.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Al-Abiden, the police official in Kirkuk, said the brutal killing of the Christian man looked like the work of al-Qaida.

Officials have said the man, whose body was identified by his family Monday morning, was targeted because he was Christian. Christians usually pay random demands without fighting; the tribes of Arab victims generally attack to try to get their members released.

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Associated Press Writer Yahya Barzanji in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq, contributed to this report.