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Attacks Across Iraq Claim 26 Lives


Iraqi officials say shootings, mortar attacks and bombings across the country killed at least 26 people Wednesday.

In the deadliest attack, gunmen killed 11 Shi'ite pilgrims in an ambush near Karbala. The pilgrims were returning from Saudi Arabia after the Hajj.

In northern Iraq, a suicide bombing killed four people. Other attacks killed 11 more people.

Iraqi authorities also found the bodies of 60 people with gunshot wounds or showing signs of torture in Baghdad Wednesday. Several more bodies were found elsewhere in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie met in Najaf with the nation's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Rubaie says the cleric stressed that Iraqis with unauthorized weapons should be disarmed.

The U.S. military says three American soldiers died Tuesday from combat wounds.

The U.S. military also says coalition forces arrested 21 suspects in two early morning raids Wednesday in Baghdad.

In other news, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says the execution of two of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants -- Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar -- should be delayed. Saddam was executed December 30.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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