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Iraq Renews State of Emergency as Violence Continues


Iraqi lawmakers have renewed the country's state of emergency for 30 more days, as new attacks killed at least five people.

The state of emergency has been in effect for more than two years. Parliament voted Tuesday to extend it for another month.

Security officials say at least four people were killed and 19 others wounded in two car bomb explosions in Baghdad. Police say the back-to-back explosions occurred outside west Baghdad's main Yarmouk hospital.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, officials say the provincial governor escaped an assassination attempt when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the official's convoy. At least one bystander was killed and more than 15 people were wounded in that attack.

In another development, a U.S. newspaper report says the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah has been training members of the Mahdi Army - the Iraqi Shi'ite militia led by radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The report published today in The New York Times cited an unnamed senior U.S. intelligence official as saying between 1,000 and 2,000 Shi'ite fighters have been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The official also said a small number of Hezbollah operatives visited Iraq to help train Shi'ite militia fighters.

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

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