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Explosion in Baghdad Kills 7, Wounds 20


Iraqi officials say an explosion on the southern edge of Baghdad has killed seven people and wounded at least 20 others.

The blast Saturday, at a minibus terminal comes one day after a traffic ban was credited for successfully dampening violence in the Iraqi capital.

Meanwhile, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said the country's new parliament will soon hold its first session since December's elections. He spoke after talks with the head of the U.S. Central Command, General John Abizaid, who said a government of national unity must be formed to bring the country together

Efforts to form a broad-based government have been complicated by a recent outbreak of sectarian violence that has left several hundred dead.

Friday, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey, expressed his belief the increase in violence triggered by the February 22 bombing of a Shi'ite shrine had subsided.

General Casey said al-Qaida or an affiliated group was most likely responsible for the Askariya shrine bombing in Samarra. He also said the U.S. military is increasing security at religious sites to prevent another attack that could trigger a significant increase in violence in the war-torn country.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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