Iraq's interim government has extended a state of emergency for another 30 days, apparently to continue a crackdown on insurgents.
A statement Thursday said the state of emergency will remain in effect until March 31st everywhere except the Kurdish north.
It was first imposed in November ahead of a major U.S. -led assault on Fallujah, which was an insurgent stronghold at that time.
Meanwhile, two car bombs exploded within minutes of each other today at a checkpoint outside the Interior Ministry in Baghdad, killing five policemen and wounding five others.
Another car bomb exploded near the local police headquarters in Baquba, north of the capital, killing one civilian and wounding at least 14 others.
Three American soldiers were also killed in separate incidents Wednesday.
On the political front, senior Shi'ite and Kurdish leaders have ended two days of talks (in Erbil) on forming a new government. No statement was released.