New, Deadly Attacks Rattle Iraqi Province

Posted December 1st, 2011 at 6:05 am (UTC-5)
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Iraqi militants are making their presence felt in the country's northeast, killing at least 17 people in two separate attacks.

Officials in Diyala province say a car bomb went off early Thursday as shoppers were starting to arrive at a market in the town of Khalis, 80 kilometers north of Baghdad. The blast killed 10 people and wounded more than 20.

In a separate attack in Diyala province later Thursday, gunmen killed at least seven people, including at least one commander of the Sahwa, or “Awakening Council,” an anti-al-Qaida militia.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad this week for talks ahead of the final U.S. troop pullout.

During a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Wednesday, Biden said the two countries are embarking on a “new path.”

The U.S. military has about 13,000 troops remaining in Iraq, but they are scheduled to leave by the end of the month. Biden told Mr. Maliki that the completion of that pullout is in the best interests of both the United States and Iraq.

The pullout will end a military presence that began with the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled former dictator Saddam Hussein.

Violence in Iraq has declined from the peak of sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, but insurgent attacks remain common.