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Iraqi Government Cautiously Welcomes US Report


Iraq's government has cautiously welcomed the recommendations of a bipartisan U.S. panel on Iraq.

The government in Baghdad says the recommendations on bringing security to Iraq are similar to its own policies. But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office says he still will read the full document released Wednesday in Washington.

The report says U.S. policy in Iraq is not working. It calls for a gradual transfer of U.S. troops from combat into advisory roles. It also says Iraqi security forces, now under the Shi'ite-dominated interior ministry, should come under the defense ministry, which is controlled by Sunnis.

Shi'ites are expected to oppose that recommendation.

Sunni political leaders have accused the U.S. panel of dealing with U.S. interests, not those of Iraq.

In other news, the U.S. military says 11 American soldiers were killed Wednesday in five separate incidents in Iraq. Officials say at least seven Iraqis were killed Thursday in a series of bombings and shootings.

A U.S. military statement issued Thursday, said five U.S. soldiers died Wednesday when their vehicle was hit by an explosion in northern Kirkuk province.

A second statement issued Thursday said another soldier was killed Wednesday during a firefight with insurgents holed up in Ramadi. The statement said insurgents fired on U.S. and coalition soldiers from several buildings. The soldiers responded with tank rounds. The buildings were destroyed and 14 insurgents were killed.

The military did not provide details on how the five other U.S. soldiers died.

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