Car bombs rock Iraq

Two people reportedly were killed and eight others injured in the latest attack.

“Two charred bodies that are difficult to identify were found at the scene of the attack,” said an interior ministry official, adding that one was a policeman.

It is believed the parked car was detonated by remote control.

The latest attack comes as US forces announced that 428 suspected insurgents have been picked up in a 30-hour operation in the capital’s western suburbs.

Earlier, the deadliest attacks came in the northern town of Tal Afar, where at least 34 people died after two car bombs exploded.

The bombs targeted the house of a community leader who has links with a Kurdish political party.

A police source told Reuters the number of dead and wounded was “between 20 and 30″ with some people still trapped inside a collapsed building.

At least seven people were killed and over 20 injured when a car bomb exploded outside a Shia mosque south of Baghdad.

Doctors said many of the casualties were children.

Earlier on Monday, another car bomb went off outside a packed restaurant popular with Iraqi police in a Shia neighbourhood of Baghdad.

At least eight people were killed in the blast and as many as 100 injured.

In a separate attack, the commander of a new unit set up to fight insurgents was shot dead in Baghdad.

Wael Rubaie was appointed to co-ordinate the fight against insurgents across all Iraqi ministries and with the US-led multi-national force.

Insurgents are now thought to have killed over 550 people since the Shiite-led government headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari was announced less than a month ago.

Thousands of US and Iraqi soldiers have swept through western Baghdad, arresting suspected insurgents in their largest joint military operation to date.

Iraqi officials said police commando units, backed by US forces, cordoned off the road leading to Baghdad’s international airport and the Abu Ghraib district.

The US military says the arrested suspects include at least two Syrians, two Egyptians and two Yemenis.

The sweep, codenamed Squeeze Play, involved 2,500 Iraqi and 1,500 US soldiers.

Meanwhile, three Romanian journalists captured in Iraq nearly two months ago arrived in Bucharest to be greeted by weeping relatives.

Romania made no foreign policy concessions and paid no ransom to secure their release, Romanian President Traian Basescu said.

The kidnappers had earlier issued an ultimatum calling on Bucharest to withdraw its 860 troops from Iraq or see the hostages executed.