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Iraq: Election Day Minus Five


There is more violence in Iraq, as the nation's first democratic elections draw closer. Iraqi officials insist such attacks will not derail the election process.

A hospital official says at 11 Iraqi policemen are dead, following several clashes with insurgents in an eastern Baghdad neighborhood.

Iraqi police fired on insurgents handing out leaflets warning Iraqis not to vote next Sunday. Nearby, insurgents fired on police checking out a report of a car bomb. Another bomb blew off the gate of a secondary school in the neighborhood.

On January 30th, voters in Iraq will choose a 275-member National Assembly and legislatures in each of Iraq's 18 provinces.

Sunni politician Adnan Pachachi, who is running for the Assembly, said a free Iraq will triumph over the current instability. " We are going to have problems, we are going to have difficulties, we fail sometimes, we succeed other time, but the main thing is to continue on this road."

Elsewhere, insurgents in Iraq released a videotape that shows a U.S. citizen, kidnapped November first, pleading for his life. In the video, Roy Hallums calls for help from Arab leaders, particularly Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, to gain his release.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. Army announced it expects troop levels in Iraq to remain at about 120,000 for at least the next two years. The Bush administration is expected to ask Congress for another 80 billion dollars in funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan this year.

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