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Turmoil intensifies in Iraq ahead of election

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Turmoil intensifies in Iraq ahead of election

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Clashes have erupted in Mosul between US forces and Iraqi insurgents with just 12 days to go to Iraq’s election. Gunmen fired on a US connvoy near a polling station.

Violence is intensifying in the run-up to the vote. One of the biggest Shi’ite parties – the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution – was hit by a suicide car bomb attack on one of its offices in Baghdad. The bomber killed himself and three others. The Allawi government says it will close Iraq’s borders from the 29th to the 31st, though they will be open to Muslim pilgrims returning from the hajj in Saudi Arabia. Despite being targeted, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution held a campaign rally in Basra. Speakers called for the elections to go ahead as planned. It is part of an umbrella of parties accepted by Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. There was some brighter news with the release of the Catholic archbishop of Mosul – Basile Georges Casmoussa – who was freed by gunmen within 24 hours of being kidnapped. China, meanwhile, says eight of its nationals have been seized.