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Roadside Bombs Decline in Iraq


A suicide bombing killed six people in Iraq's western Anbar province, but a prominent sheikh who was the target of the attack was not hurt. The U.S. military says roadside bombs linked to Iran have declined recently after a sharp increase earlier this month. VOA's Deborah Block reports from Baghdad.

The suicide bomber detonated explosives in his belt after guards stopped him at a checkpoint leading to the sheikh's farm near Falluja. Sheikh Aeifan al-Issawi is a leading member of the Anbar Awakening Council, a Sunni group that has turned against al-Qaida in Iraq.

The U.S. military says attacks in Iraq linked to Iranian roadside bombs have fallen off in recent days and the flow of weapons has dropped. U.S. military officials have been saying for months that Shi'ite Iran has been supplying roadside bombs, known as EFP's, to Shi'ite militias in Iraq. Tehran has denied the accusation.

U.S. military spokesman Rear Admiral Gregory Smith says the number of weapons coming from Iran is down dramatically, except for this short uptick in attacks during the early part of January.

But Smith says Iran's role in training and financing insurgents has not been reduced.

Smith spoke a week after the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus said roadside bomb attacks had risen recently.

Elsewhere, a mortar round slammed into a road near a passport office in eastern Baghdad, killing one person and wounding three policemen.

A guard says people we were lined up waiting for the office to open.

At least 19 people were killed by bombings and rocket attacks Saturday in Iraq. Despite the sporadic violence, hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite pilgrims continue the 10-day holiday of Ashura, which commemorates the death of one of their most revered saints.

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