george bush's iraq ready for elections

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    Blast near Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) shrine kills seven

    Three Polish soldiers among 15 die elsewhere in Iraq

    At least 22 people, including three Polish soldiers, were killed in Iraq violence on Wednesday. Seven people were killed and 32 wounded, including the local representative of Iraq’s Shia spiritual leader, when a powerful bomb exploded in Karbala, police said.
    The blast occurred near the shrine of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), a police spokesman said. "Sheikh Abdel Mehdi Karbalai was seriously hurt and has been admitted to an intensive care unit," the director of the local hospital told AFP. The cleric was wounded as he walked from his office to the shrine to lead evening prayers, the police spokesman said.
    Three Polish soldiers were killed and four injured when their helicopter crashed near Karbala, the Polish news agency PAP reported. Television station TVN 24 also reported the deaths, adding the accident occurred as result of an engine failure on their Sokol helicopter.
    Polish military spokesman Col Zdzislaw Gnatowski told The Associated Press there had been a crash but he couldn’t immediately release details. "There was an emergency landing close to Karbala," Gnatowski said. "I can’t deny there were casualties."
    Elsewhere, six men and women were found murdered in "triangle of death," south of Baghdad, residents who discovered the corpses said. "Six bodies, three men and three women, were found at around 3 o’clock in Mazraa," outside of Latifiyah, 40km from the capital, one witness told AFP.
    "All had been shot in the head, and the women also had their throats slashed," said another witness, likewise asking not to be named. In Saddam Hussein’s home province of Salaheddin, a police captain was killed and two colleagues were wounded when assailants fired on their motorway patrol, said Lieutenant Colonel Jassem Mohammed Mehdi. In another attack, three Iraqis were killed when a roadside bomb exploded in Moqdadia, northeast of Baquba, said a spokesman from an Iraqi-US information centre.
    Further north, two Turkish truck drivers carrying goods destined for a US military base were killed in an ambush late Tuesday near Balad, police said.
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