BAGHDAD, Iraq, AP -Bombs struck a busy outdoor market and a police patrol in a mostly Shiite area of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 19 people and wounding more than 40, police said.
The first explosion targeted a police patrol in the New Baghdad area in eastern Baghdad, killing two policemen and four civilians and wounding 11 people, police Lt. Ali Abbas said.
That was followed about an hour later by a blast at a fruit market in the same area, shortly after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and U.S. officials announced that terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been killed in an airstrike north of Baghdad.
Thirteen people were killed and 39 wounded when the bomb detonated at the entrance of the market, severely damaging several shops, police Col. Ahmed Abod said.
Also Thursday, Iraq’s parliament approved new ministers of defense, interior and national security, ending a three-week stalemate among Iraq’s religious and ethnic groups over the crucial posts.
The three men were sworn in after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the death of al-Qaida in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The new ministers are Iraqi Army Gen. Abdul-Qadre Mohammed Jassim, a Sunni Arab, for defense and Shiites Jawad al-Bolani for interior and Sherwan al-Waili for national security.
The posts are considered crucial for al-Maliki’s government to implement a plan allowing Iraqi forces to take over security for the country from the U.S.-led coalition within 18 months, opening the way for the eventual withdrawal of foreign troops.