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Death Toll from Triple Suicide Attacks on Baghdad Shi'ite Mosque Reaches 55


Iraqi police say the death toll from triple suicide blasts at a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad has risen to at least 55 people, with 158 others wounded.

Security officials say at least two suicide bombers dressed as women blew themselves up Friday as worshippers were leaving the Baratha mosque in northern Baghdad after Friday prayers.

Authorities urged Iraqis in the capital to donate blood for those wounded, and to avoid gathering in large crowds near mosques and markets, due to the ongoing sectarian violence.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said two American soldiers have been killed in two separate attacks in Iraq.

A military statement said one U.S. serviceman died Friday of wounds sustained while his patrol came under small arms fire in western Baghdad. The other one was killed Thursday when his combat patrol hit a roadside bomb near Beiji north of Baghdad.

The latest violence came as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, in an interview with the BBC, urged Iraqi politicians to break the deadlock and build a national unity government.

One of the main sticking points is Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who is refusing to step down as the Shi'ite nominee for a second term.

Iraq's Kurdish and Sunni Arab leaders say he has not done enough to ease the sectarian violence.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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