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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Gunmen kill 29 villagers in Iraq
Map of Iraq
Gunmen in Iraq wearing military uniforms have killed 29 people in a village in Diyala province north of Baghdad, security officials have said.

A police spokesman said a large group of gunmen surrounded Duwailiya village and killed men, women and children.

One day earlier more than 80 people were killed in a lorry bomb attack in the northern town of Kirkuk.

Meanwhile, the political bloc allied to Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr has said it has ended its boycott of parliament.

The 30 legislators pulled out after an important Shia shrine in Samarra was bombed for a second time in a June attack.

The bloc's head, Nassar Rubaie, said they were returning as their demands for the rebuilding of the shrine had been accepted.

The Sadrists will not re-enter the Iraqi government.

But the presence of their members of parliament could speed up the process of passing important laws, says the BBC's Mike Sergeant in Baghdad.

And the ongoing boycott of parliament by two main Sunni groups may still obstruct work on the legislation - demanded by the United States Congress.

Kirkuk funerals

An Iraqi police spokesman, Col Raghib Rawi, blamed the Diyala killings on al-Qaeda militants who have been fighting US and Iraqi forces in the province.

Mourners with body of Kirkuk bomb victim ahead of funeral - 17/07/2007
Attacks in Kirkuk have become more frequent in recent months
Col Rawi said the victims were members of a Shia tribe.

In Baghdad at least 10 people, including four soldiers, were killed in a suicide car bomb targeting an Iraqi army convoy passing through Zayouna district.

Another car bomb exploded near the Iranian embassy in central Baghdad, killing four people.

The attacks came as funerals were being held for victims of Monday's massive lorry bombing in Kirkuk in northern Iraq.

At least 85 people were killed and more than 180 wounded.

Extra troops

Nearly 30,000 extra US troops have been sent to Iraq in recent months in an effort to improve security.

In addition to a large, ongoing operation in and around Baghdad, thousands of US and Iraqi troops are battling insurgents in Baquba, the main town in Diyala province.

The US military announced on Tuesday that another 9,000 US and Iraqi troops had launched a drive in Anbar province to prevent militants from re-establishing themselves in key towns up the Euphrates river valley.

US and Iraqi officials say insurgents are fleeing the operations and launching attacks further north in the country.




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