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Suicide Bomber in Iraq Kills 33


Iraqi officials say a suicide bomber west of Baghdad has killed 33 people, including tribal leaders, security officials and journalists.

Police say the bomber blew himself up Tuesday as the group of tribal leaders toured a market in Abu Ghraib, just outside the capital. Some 46 other people were injured.

Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya television says two of its journalists were killed in the blast. Reporters Without Borders said the two journalists were the first to be killed this year in Iraq.

Sunni and Shi'ite tribal leaders had just wrapped up a meeting on national reconciliation at an Abu Ghraib municipal building when the attacker struck.

Also Tuesday, a car bomb in the mainly Christian town Hamdaniya, near Mosul, killed two civilians.

The bombings follow a series of violent incidents across Iraq, including a suicide attack outside a Baghdad police academy Sunday that killed 28 people. The high-profile attacks come after a year in which violence dropped dramatically.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has sought to reach out to rivals ahead of national elections later this year. Last week, he made an offer of reconciliation to members of former President Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party.

Ba'ath party hardliners Tuesday rejected the offer. A statement posted to the banned party's Web site dismissed any talk with the government, which the group called "collaborators, spies and traitors."

The U.S. military has been transferring security responsibilities to the Iraqi government, with U.S. forces scheduled to withdraw from the country by 2011. Both sides stress the situation remains fragile as the nation prepares for national elections later this year.


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