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Violence in Iraq Resurges


The Iraqi government announced the discovery of a mass grave in the south of the country Tuesday, apparently from the days of Saddam Hussein's regime. Also, violence has escalated since the relative calm after the country's December 15 elections.

The U.S. military said two soldiers died Monday in West Baghdad when two Apache attack helicopters collided in mid-air and one of them crashed. Each of the helicopters had a crew of two. The military said the other helicopter landed safely, and that the collision was not caused by hostile fire.

Also, two other soldiers were killed in separate attacks as violence, which subsided during and after the December 15th election has escalated. One U.S. soldier died when an rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle during a patrol in Baghdad, the other by small arms fire in western Iraq.

The mass grave was discovered in the Shi'ite Holy city of Karbala. The Associated Press reports the graves could possibly date to 1991, when Saddam Hussein put down a Shi'ite uprising in the south.

Meanwhile, political wrangling continues in Iraq, as high powered Shi'ite political leaders met Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq to discuss the makeup of the new government.

In Baghdad, supporters of one secular party led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi protested the December 15th election results. The protesters say voting fraud contributed to a big win by the dominant Shi'ite coalition.

Sunnis and secular parties have called for a new round of elections. Both Iraq's electoral commission and the United Nations have rejected that demand.

Iraq's electoral commission plans to announce the final results of the vote next week.