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A rare day of calm

Published March 2, 2007


BAGHDAD - The Iraqi capital saw one of its quietest days in months Thursday with one reported car bombing and one fatality.

The relative lull in violence offered authorities a rare breather after periods of almost hour-by-hour bombings and mortar strikes by suspected Sunni insurgents.

But the calm was broken after nightfall, when the rumbling of artillery fire was heard throughout Baghdad.

U.S. and Iraqi forces also neared agreement to expand the Baghdad security sweep that begun Feb. 14 into the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City.

VIOLENCE: A roadside bomb exploded Thursday alongside the convoy of a prominent Shiite cleric, Jalal Eddin al-Sagheer, who is also a member of Iraq's Parliament and whose high-level political ties have made him the target of past assassination attempts. The imam was not injured. In Fallujah, a bomb-rigged car exploded near a convoy of cars heading to a police officer's wedding. At least five people were killed and 10 wounded, police said. The bride and groom were not harmed.

U.S. DEATHS: The U.S. command said Thursday that two U.S. Marines were killed the day before in fighting in Anbar province.

U.S. OPERATIONS: A U.S. Army helicopter made a "hard landing" near Kirkuk, but the military said the problem was mechanical and not the result of hostile fire. The two-member crew suffered injuries, the military said.

UPDATE: President Jalal Talabani said he was in good health after collapsing last weekend and would be returning home, although he gave no date. "I enjoy good health, despite the rumors you've heard," Talabani, 73, told AP Television News in the Jordanian capital of Amman. Talabani collapsed Sunday, suffering from exhaustion and dehydration caused by lung and sinus infections.

[Last modified March 2, 2007, 01:31:54]

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