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Pelosi meets Maliki in Baghdad visit

January 27, 2007|Borzou Daragahi | Times Staff Writer

BAGHDAD — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a group of U.S. lawmakers on a visit here Friday to discuss President Bush's troop buildup plan and other efforts to reduce sectarian violence with U.S. and Iraqi officials.

During a meeting with Pelosi, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said his government was determined to fight armed militants with "full power," according to a statement from the Iraqi government.

The prime minister also described details of the plan to secure Baghdad, which will include operations that will target anyone breaking the law regardless of sectarian affiliation, the statement said. Maliki told Pelosi that Iraqi security forces were ready to take over crucial security missions from U.S. forces, the statement said.

Pelosi (D-San Francisco) reportedly voiced support for Iraq's "democratic experiment" and vowed to push for the speedy transfer of security duties from U.S. to Iraqi forces long demanded by the Shiite-dominated government.

On Iraqi TV, Pelosi said she and Maliki "came out of the meeting with a greater understanding, I think, of each other's point of view."

She said the congressional delegation is "fact finding and we are in the course of doing that."

"We came here also to convey to our troops the appreciation of the American people for what they're doing."

Meanwhile, violence continued to take a toll on Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops.

Bomb blasts and shootings in the capital killed at least 38 and injured 72 during the Muslim day of worship. A U.S. Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 6 died Friday of combat wounds while operating in Al Anbar province, the military said.

Since the 2003 invasion, 3,067 U.S. troops have been killed, according to

Police in Baghdad found the bodies of at least 17 men, including the corpse of a Sadr City man later identified as a taxi driver. His family, worried about his disappearance had come to the Yarmouk Hospital several times over the last week. His body was discovered this week in west Baghdad, headless and mangled by wild dogs. His parents identified the body from the clothes, hospital officials said.

Gunmen attacking a ranking police official south of the capital killed a woman in a passing vehicle.

Police discovered the bodies of three men, wearing military uniforms, floating in the Tigris River near the southern Iraq town of Suwayrah. The men had been blindfolded, handcuffed and shot several times in the head and chest.

Tribal clashes with sectarian overtones erupted in a village north of Kut. The fighting between rival Shiite and Sunni clans left four dead, police said.

In the north, a suicide bomber struck a Shiite mosque near the city of Mosul, killing one and injuring three worshipers emerging from Friday prayers.

Police in the Kirkuk area found two unidentified bodies of men who had died of gunshot wounds.

Special correspondents in Baghdad, Hillah, Kirkuk and Mosul contributed to this report.

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