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Bombs kill Iraq’s oldest legislator, 2 U.S. soldiers

Associated Press

BAGHDAD — Explosions killed the country’s oldest legislator and two American soldiers Tuesday on the first anniversary of Iraq’s sovereignty — a day the president described as “blessed” despite the persistent violence.

More than a dozen Iraqis also were killed and U.S. and Iraqi troops launched Operation Sword aimed at communities along the Euphrates River, their third major anti-insurgency campaign in Anbar province.

The campaigns have failed to stem a Sunni-dominated insurgency that has killed more than 1,360 people — mostly civilians and Iraqi forces — since Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced his Shiite-dominated government April 28.

President Jalal Talabani nevertheless praised the anniversary of the official transfer of soverneity to the Iraqis because it led to the Jan. 30 election, the country’s first free balloting in decades.

Those elections, however, were boycotted by the vast majority of Sunni Arabs — either because of unwillingness or fear of the insurgency they now dominate.

Relentless attacks since al-Jaafari’s government took office have sparked an escalation of sectarian tensions and fears of civil war.

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