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November 24, 2008

Violence in Iraq Ahead of Security Pact Vote

On Wednesday Iraq's parliament will vote on the Status of Forces Agreement which sets a 2011 deadline for withdrawal, but provides for long-term cooperation and an American presence in Iraq. The security pact is highly contentious and some folks are voting the only way they know how:

Ahmed al-Sayyid, 23, was waiting in line with friends at the entrance to the Green Zone when a woman in black robes approached the checkpoint.

"Suddenly, she blew herself up about 50 meters from where I was standing. I was horrified and I ran away. But seconds later, I returned to the explosion site, which was filled with smoke, and I could see some wounded people and pieces of flesh," al-Sayyid said.

Iraq's intelligence service said the bomber had targeted the checkpoint where its workers enter the Green Zone to go to work at the agency's headquarters, which is inside the fortified area. The service said female employees, including a pregnant woman, were killed and some of its guards were injured.

Kindi hospital said two women were among those killed in the blast.

The U.S. military said the bombing near the Green Zone occurred between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and killed two Iraqi army members and three civilians. One civilian was injured, it said.

The deal could still fall apart. Maliki needs agreement from the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites so all can claim political cover. Any one pulls out and the deal will have to be put off until after the holidays. After parliament the deal has to survive President Talibani's veto pen.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:41 AM

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