A series of explosions shook the Iraqi capital Wednesday, while a high-ranking U.S. official visited the country.
Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick visited the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah to inspect reconstruction efforts there. Later, he is to meet in Baghdad with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
Meanwhile, near Kirkuk, nine policemen were killed while trying to defuse a bomb. In Baghdad, at least four people were injured in three separate explosions. A U.S. military spokeswoman said a fourth blast hit a Defense Department convoy, killing five Iraqis and injuring four U.S. contractors.
And al-Jazeera television aired a video it said shows an American contractor who was abducted Monday near Baghdad. The video showed the man urging U.S. officials to open a dialogue with insurgents in order to save his life.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.