Only two deaths were reported in Iraq today, while a third individual was wounded in a bomb blast. Meanwhile, in response to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit, scores of Iraqis staged a demonstration in Najaf calling for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Although U.S. troops are scheduled to leave by the end of the year, a new agreement allowing them to stay beyond 2011 could be forged. In any case, a large contingent of state department personnel and contractors will likely remain.
Update at 9:01 p.m EST, Nov. 8, 2010 At least 40 people were killed and 130 more were wounded in new violence across Iraq. Two of the deadliest attacks targeted Shi’ite pilgrims near Iraq’s holiest sites. Although figures are inexact, at least 11 Iranian pilgrims were killed and as many as 63 were wounded in those cities alone. The pilgrims were visiting holy sites in Iraq just a week before the Eid al-Adha holiday begins. Meanwhile, Iraqi politicians met in Arbil where they were to have announced a deadlock-breaking deal concerning government formation, but instead bickered over the details until they ultimately agreed to continue discussions tomorrow.