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Violence Continues in Iraq, Iran's Foreign Minister to Visit Baghdad

Violence is continuing in Iraq Thursday.

Gunmen in Baghdad shot and wounded Khalil al-Abadi, a senior official of the country's defense ministry. Officials say three people have been kidnapped including a judge in Dujail, north of Baghdad.

At least six bodies, most riddled with bullets or showing signs of torture, turned up Thursday. Also, bombs wounded at least 11 people in Baghdad.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said Iraqi forces will be able to take control of security around the country within a year and a half. But the newly installed government has not agreed on defense and interior ministers.

In other news, media reports say Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, will visit Baghdad on Friday. This is the first visit by a senior Iranian official in almost a year.

The U.S. has indicated Iran can help quell the violence in Iraq because of its influence with the country's majority Shi'ites.

Iraq and Iran were at war between 1980 and 1988, when Saddam Hussein was in power.

Elsewhere, London's International Institute for Strategic Studies said it is unlikely that Iraq will be able to handle its own security anytime soon. The Institute said Iraqi soldiers and police have not been well trained and are not loyal enough to the national government to remain above the sectarian struggles plaguing Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.