US VP in Baghdad to celebrate, bombs explode at mosques
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Hours after US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in the Iraqi capital for talks with Prime Minister Nuri-al-Maliki on Thursday, three bombs went off near mosques in Baghdad, killing two people and wounding 13. Biden said he was in Baghdad to celebrate Iraq’s progress.
"I'm here to help the Iraqis celebrate the progress they made,” Biden told reporters during a photo-op in Baghdad’s Green Zone with the top US commander in Iraq General Lloyd Austin and US Ambassador James Jeffrey.
“They formed a government. And that's a good thing. They have a long way to go," Biden added.
He landed in Baghdad late Wednesday and met with Maliki Thursday morning. Hours later three bombs exploded near mosques in central and northern Baghdad.
An interior ministry official said one person was killed and four others wounded by a bomb that exploded near the Husseiniya Shiite mosque in the Karrada neighbourhood.
Another bomb went off near the Abdel Qadir Gilani Sunni mosque, killing one person and wounding five more. And four other people were wounded by an explosion near Al-Assaf, a Sunni mosque in Adhamiyah in the north of the city.
Biden later met Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and Iyad Allawi, leader of the Iraqiya bloc that won the most votes in last year’s elections.
Biden came from Pakistan, where he delivered a message of support, saying that
America is "not the enemy of Islam".
Previously he was in Afghanistan, where he met with President Hamid Karzai to discuss the presence of US troops there.
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