BAGHDAD — Gunmen killed a senior leader of a U.S.-allied Sunni group and six of his guards in an ambush south of Baghdad, a group member and residents said Tuesday.

The U.S. military confirmed casualties in an attack on the man's house but denied that he was killed.

Sheik Ibrahim al-Karbouli's convoy came under attack Monday in Youssifiyah, according to one of his followers and several residents in the town. All spoke on condition of anonymity out of fears for their own security.

The sheik was a senior leader of the so-called awakening council in the town, which is a former al-Qaida stronghold about 12 miles south of the Iraqi capital.

The two versions of events — one from a group member and several townspeople and another from the U.S. military — could not be immediately reconciled.

Al-Qaida has frequently mounted reprisal attacks against awakening councils because of their success in cutting into support for the terror movement among Iraqi Sunni Arabs.

Police also discovered the bodies of three awakening council members who were abducted several days ago, police Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir said.

Meanwhile, a series of bombings killed two people and wounded 19 others Tuesday in a second consecutive day of attacks in Baghdad. A day earlier, roadside bombs killed two U.S. soldiers and nine Iraqis in the capital and surrounding areas.

One of Tuesday's blasts struck the commercial Bab al-Muadham district in the capital, killing one person and wounding five others, police and health officials said.

Another roadside bomb went off on Palestine Street, a major thoroughfare in Baghdad, wounding seven people, authorities said. It was the second such attack on the same street in as many days. Two Iraqis — a soldier and a civilian — were killed in Monday's bombing.

The police and health officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.

Meanwhile, Iraqi leaders remain deadlocked in talks over a power-sharing dispute that is blocking U.S.-backed provincial elections. The disagreement over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk forced parliamentary officials to delay a planned vote on the provincial elections bill until Tuesday, at the earliest.

The United States considers provincial elections, which are expected to redistribute power at the local level, essential to reconciling Iraq's rival ethnic and religious communities.

But Kurds object to a measure that would equally distribute provincial council seats among Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen in Tamim province, which lies just south of their own semiautonomous region in Iraq's north.


Associated Press writer Saad Abdul-Kadir and Hamid Ahmed contributed to this report.