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Five Iranian pilgrims killed in Iraq, Obama to host Maliki

Article published on the 2009-07-22 Latest update 2009-07-22 12:29 TU

A market bombed in Baghdad's Sadr city, 21 July 2009(Photo: Reuters)

A market bombed in Baghdad's Sadr city, 21 July 2009
(Photo: Reuters)

Gunmen shot five Iranians in a minibus in the Iraqi city of Baquba on Wednesday. The five were part of a group of about two dozen pilgrims travelling through the area. Later on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama welcomes Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for a four-day visit in Washington.

"At least five people were killed in an attack by armed men against three buses carrying Iranian pilgrims in the Nabi Wais region," said a police official at the Diyala province security command centre.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians travel to Iraq each year to visit Shia-Muslim shrines, and many have been targeted in the past.

On Tuesday, 21 people died and over 120 were wounded in a string of attacks across the country. In the deadliest attack, five people were killed and 21 wounded in a bomb attack in the market district of Husseiniyah in north-east Baghdad.

This has been the bloodiest week in Iraq since the US military pulled out of cities on 30 June.

In the first meeting between the US and Iraqi leaders since the drawback, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki travels to Washington Wednesday to meet with US President Barack Obama who is pushing for more political unity in Iraq.

Earlier this month in Baghdad US Vice President Joe Biden urged Iraq to make more progress on reconciliation between the Shia-, Sunni-Muslim and Kurd communities.

In his four-day visit, Maliki will be looking for investment in his country, and he will visit an investment conference at the US Department of Commerce.

He will also meet with Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

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