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Bombs, Gunmen Kill 8 in Northern Iraq


Iraqi police say eight people have been killed and about 50 wounded in violence in northern Iraq.

In the bloodiest incident Wednesday, a car bomb blast killed four people and wounded about 45 others in a crowded market in Sinjar, west of Mosul.

In Mosul itself, police say two bomb blasts, one following the other, killed two people and wounded several others.

Also in Mosul, police say gunmen shot and killed a candidate, Mowaffaq al-Hamdani, in the January provincial elections. One policeman was killed and another wounded while chasing the gunmen.

Separately, the U.S. military says two American soldiers were killed in separate combat-related incidents in Iraq, one in Balad, and one in Baghdad.

Also on Wednesday, U.S. officials completed their move into a newly built U.S. embassy compound, after withdrawing from a Saddam Hussein-era palace in Baghdad that they have occupied since the fall of the Iraqi leader in 2003.

The move is part of a transition in power that takes effect January 1, with U.S. troops now coming under Iraqi authority.

During a ceremony on Thursday, Iraqi forces also will take over security of the Green Zone, a heavily fortified sector of Baghdad.

The changes are part of a U.S.-Iraqi security deal approved in November that allows U.S. troops to remain in Iraq until 2011. A United Nations mandate legalizing the foreign troop presence in Iraq expired on Wednesday.

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

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