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Bush Condemns Suicide Bombing Near Shi'ite Shrine in Iraq


President Bush has condemned the suicide bombing in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf on Thursday that killed 35 people near one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest sites.

In a statement released Friday, Mr. Bush said the blast near the Imam Ali Shrine was a barbarous action. He pledged continued U.S. support for the Iraqi government to help bring peace and security to the country.

Meanwhile, in another sign of sectarian tensions in Iraq, gunmen stormed an office of a Kurdish political party, setting it on fire.

Police say one guard was wounded in the attack Friday on the offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in the mainly Shi'ite town of Kut, southeast of Baghdad.

Officials said the gunmen were Shi'ites angry about an article in the Kurdish party's official newspaper that criticized Shi'ite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed al-Yacoubi.

The article accused the cleric of inflaming tensions between Arab Shi'ites and Kurds in the northern city of Kirkuk.

President Jalal Talabani is a member of the Kurdish party. In a statement, he expressed regret over the situation, and said he was not aware of the article's contents before they were published.

In another development, the U.S. military says it has recovered the bodies of two soldiers missing from a helicopter crash in Al Anbar province Tuesday. The military says the crash does not appear to be a result of enemy action.

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

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