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Biden, al-Maliki Discuss Iraq Violence

  • VOA News

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has expressed condolences to the victims of terrorist violence in Iraq, after the country suffered its deadliest month since 2008.

Biden discussed Iraq's recent upsurge in violence during a Saturday phone call with Iraqi President Nouri al-Malaki.

The White House says Malaki and Biden agreed there is a need to strengthen bilateral cooperation to support Iraq's efforts to find those responsible for recent attacks and bring them to justice.

About 1,000 people were killed during a wave of violence in July, including at least 58 who died in a series of car bombings on Monday.

Analysts say the recent unrest has been largely sectarian. The violence has raised fears of increased conflict in Iraq, where majority Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims and ethnic Kurds have yet to agree on ways to share power.

The White House says Biden also called for continued outreach to Iraq's national and local political leaders and said he was encouraged by recent improvements in Iraq's political atmosphere.

The increase in violence has continued into August. Attacks across Iraq left at least 19 people dead on Saturday.

Investigators say in one incident north of Baghdad, attackers allegedly targeted top army commander Lieutenant General Abdul-Amir al-Zaidi during a military operation, killing at least six people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.