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Iraq Begins to Rein In Paramilitary Force

The Interior Ministry, which is trying to clean up its own reputation for harboring death squads, in recent weeks has acted to try to bring the FPS under some measure of oversight. On May 6, the private security companies that pay the salaries of FPS members agreed to several Interior Ministry proposals meant to bring some central order to the paramilitary unit, said Gen. Raad al-Tamimi of the Interior Ministry.

The Interior Ministry is to issue badges and distinctive seals for the vehicles of the FPS and supervise the kinds of weapons it uses, Tamimi said. Agents of the security companies and the ministry also made clear that FPS members were liable for prosecution for any crimes, the official said.

The security companies also agreed to bring the FPS under ministry supervision, Tamimi said, but he gave no details. Ongoing negotiations would bring the FPS under the same Interior Ministry command as the national police but with slightly different uniforms, Tamimi said.

"There is a desire to standardize the whole issue," Negard, the U.S. spokesman, said. "You want to be able to know who everybody is. You kind of can't tell now."

In violence Saturday, gunmen killed the son of Iraq's top judge along with two of his bodyguards and dumped their bodies in Baghdad, officials told news agencies.

Victims of other reported attacks included five Iraqis, a U.S. soldier and an Iranian Shiite pilgrim beheaded in Najaf. The soldier was killed when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle before dawn in south Baghdad, according to a U.S. military statement that gave no further details.

In Basra, the country's second-largest city, Gov. Mohammed Mosabbah Mohammed al-Weily issued a fiery statement blaming the local police chief, army commander and others for failing to curb or investigate killings and political assassinations. Weily suspended the police chief pending what he said would be a local council vote on the man's dismissal.

Staff writer Thomas E. Ricks in Washington, special correspondents Saad Sarhan in Najaf and Saad al-Izzi and K.I. Ibrahim in Baghdad, and other Washington Post staff members in Iraq contributed to this report.

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