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Terrorists Target Baghdad Market


Iraqi officials say at least four people died in bomb attacks across Baghdad. One blast hit a popular market, killing three people while another struck near the Polish Embassy. Car and truck bombings have killed more than 20 people in Baghdad and areas north of Baghdad. The deadliest attack occurred near the town of Samarra, where a suicide bomber there killed at least 13 people. U.S. forces say they killed five militants and detained three more. VOA's Jim Randle reports from northern Iraq where relations eased a bit with neighboring Iran.

Iranian authorities have reopened border crossings into northern Iraq after a two-week closure protesting detention of an Iranian citizen in Iraq by U.S. forces.

The Americans accuse the Iranian of involvement in smuggling weapons, including powerful explosives specially-designed to wreck U.S. armored vehicles and kill U.S. soldiers.

Iran says he was part of a trade delegation to Kurdistan.

Officials in the Kurdistan Region of Northern Iraq complained to Iran that the closure unfairly punished Iraq's economy for actions by the Americans.

Meanwhile, Iraq has raised the official death toll to 17 in last month's violent incident that saw guards from the Blackwater security company open fire on Iraqis. That is six more than first reported.

One of the dead was Ali, the 10-year-old son of Mohammed Hafedh Abdul-Razaq.

He says the Blackwater employees, "Just opened fire, intensively and randomly at every car." They hit one vehicle so many times it caught fire.

Razaq says his nephew was in the back seat of the car, and was the first to notice that his son Ali had been shot.

Ali's father says the bullet scattered his son's brains around the car.

Blackwater officials say their guards were under attack when they began shooting to defend themselves and the diplomatic convoy they were protecting.

But Iraqi investigators say Blackwater was the first to shoot and called the incident a deliberate crime. Iraq's government said it may take legal steps against the security guards for the deaths, and could also hold the security firm accountable.

Iraq's continuing violence, some of it related to sectarian power struggles, prompted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to visit a mosque in Baghdad on Sunday. He was accompanied by imams from the Shi'ite and Sunni sects of Islam.

The prime minister said Iraqis must stop using faith as a reason to fight, and instead remember that Islam calls for peace and unity. He offered the hope that the sight of Sunni and Shi'ite clerics praying together would be an example for the rest of the nation.

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