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Violence Seemingly Escalates in Iraq While Utility Services Lessen

There's been more violence in Iraq as U.S. and Iraqi forces launch another offensive aimed at cracking down on insurgents. More than 1,000 U.S. troops and Iraqi forces began Operation Sword in western Iraq --the third major offensive in the area in recent weeks.

A senior Shi'ite member of Iraq's parliament was killed in a suicide car bombing in northern Baghdad Tuesday.

Police say the bomber rammed his explosives-filled vehicle into a convoy carrying Dhari al-Fayadh, a member of the ruling alliance. Mr. al-Fayadh's son and three bodyguards were also killed.

A similar attack in the northern city of Kirkuk killed the city's traffic police chief, Brigadier General Salar Ahmed. One of his bodyguards and a civilian also died.

Across Iraq, one year after the country re-gained its sovereignty, many Iraqis are not only dealing with constant violence. Many struggle through each day without basic necessities.

This man in Baghdad said, "Nothing has changed. No electricity, no water." His neighborhood has not electricity for three or four days.

As of June 23rd, many neighborhoods in Iraq average slightly more than 9 hours of electricity a day. That's down more than 30 minutes from one year ago, according to the Associated Press.

There have been some positive developments in the past 12 months, most notably the elections on January 30th. Also, the number of telephone and Internet subscribers has nearly tripled, according to the Washington-based Brookings Institution. And the number of trained Iraqi judges has doubled.

But stopping the insurgency is still foremost on the minds of Iraq's new leaders.

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told reporters Monday that two years will be enough time to establish security in his country. Mr. Jaafari said his time frame depended on several factors, including the development of Iraq's own security forces, the cooperation of neighbors to control borders, and the continued development of Iraq's political process.