August 5, 2008

No Deal on Iraq Election Bill

By The Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) - Despite intense U.S. pressure, Iraqi leaders failed Sunday to resolve differences over how to govern the oil- rich city of Kirkuk - a dispute that is blocking provincial elections and stoking tension in the volatile north.Also Sunday, a truck bomb exploded in a Sunni area of northern Baghdad, killing 12 people, wounding 23 and raising concern about a revival of sectarian conflict.Parliament had called a special session Sunday to try to reach agreement on a bill authorizing elections in all 18 Iraqi provinces - a move the United States considers essential to reconciling Iraq's rival ethnic and religious communities.But the session never convened because intensive talks among party and legislative leaders were unable to produce agreement on a formula that would satisfy Arab, Kurdish and Turkoman demands for governing Kirkuk.The truck bomb exploded near a fruit stand, about 200 yards away from a heavily barricaded passport office in Baghdad's Sunni district of Azamiyah, a former insurgent stronghold. The U.S. military blamed al-Qaida in Iraq.At least two women were among the dead, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was nor authorized the release the information.It was the first major attack in Baghdad since last Monday, when three suicide bombers killed more than 30 people and wounded hundreds during a Shiite religious procession.Elsewhere, a roadside bomb killed six people, including three Iraqi soldiers, and wounded 13 others Sunday south of Baghdad, police said.In Tarmiyah, north of the capital, a clash between U.S.-allied fighters and civilians killed one civilian Sunday and wounded 10 others, local police said.The U.S. military also said two American soldiers were killed in non-combat incidents Saturday - one southwest of Baghdad and another north of the capital. A total of three soldiers were injured in the two incidents, the U.S. said.

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