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11 Killed in Baghdad Bomb Blast

05 September 2007

Authorities in Iraq say a bomb blast in Baghdad's mostly Shi'ite Sadr City district has killed at least 11 people and wounded about 20 others.

Police say the blast occurred in the crowded al-Hamza square early Wednesday as buses were gathering to pick up passengers heading for work.

Sadr City is a stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military says American troops have detained what the military calls a "highly sought individual" suspected of links to the al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The military says the individual was captured during a pre-dawn raid in the southern city of Karbala today.

U.S. officials have accused Iran of supporting Shi'ite militias in Iraq.

The U.S. military also says coalition forces have detained 19 suspected militants and seized a large cache of weapons during operations north of Babil and east of Baghdad.

The military also announced today the deaths of four American soldiers killed in combat in Baghdad, including three who died in a roadside bomb blast.

Meanwhile, the number-two U.S. commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, says attacks in August fell to their lowest number in more than a year. He said if the trend continues, the United States will be able to maintain security with fewer troops.

But in Washington, a new report from the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, says the Iraqi government has failed to meet 11 of 18 benchmarks the U.S. has set to mark political, economic and military progress in the country.

The report says that among other things, the Iraqi government has failed to disarm militias, reduce the level of sectarian violence, or enact legislation on the sharing of oil revenue.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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