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Blast kills 2, injures 4 near Baghdad
Fri, 08 Apr 2011 05:33:59 GMT
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Iraqi security forces
At least two civilians have been killed and four others wounded in a bombing attack northwest of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a local security source says.

The source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency on Thursday that an improvised explosive device went off near the Shia mosque of al-Rida in Saba' al-Bour area.

"The explosion left two people killed and four others injured," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad on Thursday.

The Pentagon chief told the Iraqi government that Washington is prepared to extend its military presence in the war-torn Iraq beyond December 31, 2011.

"If folks here are going to want us to have a presence, we're going to need to get on with it pretty quickly in terms of our planning," Gates said.

"I think there is interest in having a continuing presence, but the politics are such that we'll just have to wait and see because the initiative ultimately has to come from the Iraqis," he added.

Maliki on Thursday rejected the offer, saying that he expects all American troops to leave by the end of this year.

A 2008 security agreement between Baghdad and Washington mandates the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq before 2012.

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