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Iraq Extends State of Emergency Until March 31

Iraq's interim government has extended a state of emergency for another 30 days, as U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces intensify operations against insurgents.

The state of emergency, which was first imposed in November, will remain in effect until March 31 everywhere except the Kurdish north. The emergency laws give authorities extra powers to impose curfews and restrict travel.

Meanwhile, two car bombs exploded within minutes of each other Thursday outside the Interior Ministry in Baghdad, killing five policemen and wounding five others.

To the north, in Baquba, another car bomb exploded near the local police headquarters killing one person and wounding at least 14 others. And near Kirkuk, insurgents blew up an important gas pipeline.

The U.S. military said today that three American soldiers were killed Wednesday in separate incidents in and around Baghdad.

On the political front, no date has been set for the new National Assembly to hold its first session. Politicians said they had hoped to convene on Sunday, but now say that is unlikely to happen, as political deal-making among the three largest blocs continues.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.