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Death Toll in Iraq Truck Bombings Passes 400


Rescue workers in northern Iraq are still digging through rubble from Tuesday's devastating suicide bombings, which now estimated to have killed at least 400 people - the deadliest coordinated attacks of the war.

U.S. troops have joined the rescue effort in the two religious-minority Yazidi villages. U.S. commanders say the four truck bomb blasts had the hallmarks of an al-Qaida attack.

In Baghdad, Iraqi political leaders have announced a new alliance of Shi'ite and Kurdish parties that does not include any Sunni Arab groups.

Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi - the leader of the main Sunni Arab bloc in parliament - refused to join the alliance. Kurdish President Jalal Talabani said the Sunni Arab groups can join later.

Hashemi's Iraqi Accordance Front withdrew from Mr. Maliki's Cabinet earlier this month, leaving the unity government in crisis.

Shi'ite members of the new alliance include Mr. Maliki's Dawa Party and the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) of Vice President Adel Abdel-Mahdi.

The alliance also includes two Kurdish factions - Mr. Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) of Massud Barzani.

Also in Baghdad Thursday, a car bomb attack next to a shopping complex killed at least seven people and wounded 15 others.

The U.S. military says two American soldiers were killed and six wounded in fighting Wednesday north of the Iraqi capital.

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