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Two bombings kill 14 Iraqis

By wire services
Published June 2, 2004

BAGHDAD - A car bomb exploded Tuesday outside the Baghdad headquarters of one of Iraq's two main Kurdish parties, killing at least three people and injuring at least 20, a U.S. military official said. Another explosion to the north killed 11 Iraqis.

At the time of the Baghdad blast, people in the building were celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The building is near the headquarters of the American-led coalition.

It was unclear whether a suicide bomber was responsible, said the military official, Lt. Col. Robert Campbell of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Most of the people wounded were on the street and hit by flying glass, he added.

Outside the capital, a roadside bomb exploded near the U.S. military base near Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad. It killed 11 Iraqis and wounded 23. Two 1st Infantry Division soldiers were also wounded, the military said.

Najaf deal proposed

NAJAF, Iraq - The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq reportedly proposed a new cease-fire for the cities of Najaf and Kufa on Tuesday, even while American forces continued heavy battles with militants in the area and military commanders said the Iraqi police forces needed for the plan are months away at the earliest.

Coalition authorities wrote a letter proposing that fighters affiliated with the anti-American Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr withdraw from the two cities within a 72-hour period, Najaf Gov. Adnan Zurufi said.

Zurufi said the letter promised that, in return, U.S. forces would "reposition" their troops in Najaf and Kufa, stay away from Shiite holy sites in the two cities and patrol with Iraqi security forces in other neighborhoods. The letter did not specify when the 72-hour period would begin.

But a U.S. military commander in Najaf continued to insist that Sadr disarm his Mahdi Army and turn himself in to face charges that he was involved in the killing of a rival Shiite leader last year, two long-standing demands of the coalition.

The Army commander of the base nearest Kufa, Lt. Col. Pat White of the 1st Armored Division, also said that the 60 Iraqi police in Najaf were insufficient in training and numbers to carry out patrols with American troops.

Halliburton deal decried

WASHINGTON - Democrats on Tuesday called for a full investigation of whether Vice President Dick Cheney was involved in a decision to award Halliburton Corp. a multibillion-dollar contract to rebuild the Iraq's oil infrastructure.

Democrats charged that a recently released U.S. Army e-mail showed that Cheney, the president of Halliburton between 1995 and 2000, had "coordinated" action relating to the contract, awarded without bidding and worth up to $7-billion.

The e-mail, apparently between two corps officials, says that Doug Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy and a Cheney ally, had approved the decision to declassify the news "contingent on informing WH (White House) tomorrow."

Cheney's office repeated earlier assertions that he had nothing to do with the contract award.

[Last modified June 1, 2004, 23:55:20]

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