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A U.N. special envoy has met with top Iraqi officials to discuss government complaints of outside involvement in the recent wave of terrorism. Official figures, just released, show the number of terror casualties doubled for the month of October.
Iraqi officials are praising the mission of U.N. envoy Oscar Fernandez-Taranco to Baghdad to investigate allegations of foreign involvement in recent bloody suicide bombings. Taranco's arrival follows lengthy lobbying by the government to hold an independent international inquiry.
Top Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, have repeatedly accused Syria of aiding and abetting the perpetrators of two massive suicide bombings in Baghdad on August 19th and October 25. Syria denies involvement in the attacks.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said at a joint news conference that Iraqi officials and investigators would do their best to cooperate with the U.N. envoy and his team, providing them with evidence in Iraq's possession:
Al-Dabbagh says the U.N. envoy is meeting with Iraqi officials to investigate the perpetrators of the recent suicide attacks. He says the envoy will also confer with Iraqi criminal investigators and security personnel.
Fernandez-Taranco, who met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, denounced the recent suicide-bombings and noted that he would take "information presented to him by the Iraqi side back to the U.N. for further examination."
More than 150 people were killed and more than 500 wounded in a twin suicide bombing on October 25. A group with ties to al-Qaida claimed responsibility. It was the most devastating attack to hit the Iraqi capital in more than two years.
That attack, and others, caused a serious rise in casualty figures in Iraq for the month of October. Just-released Iraqi government data indicates 343 civilians were killed, along with 42 policemen and 25 soldiers, a sharp increase from the 203 people killed in September.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi parliament met to discuss key legislation, but again postponed a vote on the country's electoral law.
Iraqi officials have warned that Iraq's parliamentary elections, scheduled for January 16th, could be delayed if the electoral law is not approved soon. Prime Minister Maliki has also warned that such a delay could cause an uptick in violence.