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At Least 16 Killed in Violence in Iraq


A series of explosions and other violence in Iraq has left at least 16 people dead, including a senior Iraqi army general.

An Iraqi official says the general was assassinated on Monday in Baghdad when gunmen opened fire along the route of his convoy. Elsewhere in the capital, car bombs killed at least three policeman and a civilian.

And in the religiously mixed city of Baquba about 65 kilometers north of Baghdad, another car bomb killed six people, including two children, and injured at least 21.

Other incidents of violence were reported elsewhere in the country.

In other news, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says he will call on the country's new parliament to hold its first session on March 12th. Mr. Talabani says that date is the last day Iraq's constitution allows for holding the session.

The move starts a 60-day period during which the legislature must elect a new head of state and approve a prime minister and cabinet.

Mr. Talabani called for the session as Iraqi politicians are deeply divided over the main Shi'ite bloc's decision to name Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to a new term. Sunni Arab, Kurdish and some secular politicians say he should step down.
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