In Baghdad, a car bomb targeted police commandos. Near Baqouba, gunmen killed three Iraqis and wounded seven.
British PM Tony Blair held talks with Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki and President Talabani on an unannounced visit to Baghdad. At least 11 people were killed in shooting and bombing attacks as they conversed.
Sunday, as 18 Iraqis died in insurgent attacks, Al Maliki pledged maximum force in “fighting terrorists” at his first cabinet meeting. Another three Iraqis were killed by a car bomb in Baghdad Monday.
debkafile adds: The Blair visit is more a gesture of support and self-vindication than of real consequence since the new Shiite prime minister has no realistic chance at this stage of getting to grips with Sunni and al Qaeda terrorists. Al Maliki still faces the uphill task of filling the three portfolios responsible for Iraq’s army, police and national security forces in his Shiite-Sunni-Kurdish administration with accepted officials. He has promised they will be independent and non-sectarian.
Blair is unlikely to leave the fortified Green Zone, where he landed from a fleet of armed helicopters. Neither is he expected to visit the 8,000-strong British force in the South, whose troops have been taking casualties from Iran-backed and armed Shiite terrorists.

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