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Bomb Blasts in Iraqi Capital Kill More Than 160


Iraqi security officials say a series of bomb blasts has killed more than 160 people in mainly Shi'ite areas of Baghdad.

In the deadliest attack Wednesday, a car bomb killed at least 116 people in a crowded marketplace in central Baghdad. A short time earlier, another car bomb killed 30 people in the Shi'ite neighborhood of Sadr City.

A suicide bomber killed 10 people in another mainly Shi'ite district, Karradah. Another five people were killed in smaller bombings across the city.

Elsewhere, British troops handed over security control of the southern province of Maysan to Iraqi forces. It is the fourth province to come under full Iraqi security control.

Earlier, the U.S. military said coalition forces killed five terrorists and detained 30 suspects during an operation in the restive al-Anbar province, west of Baghdad.

In other news, The Washington Post newspaper, citing an unnamed Saudi official, reports the kingdom has decided to write off 80 percent of the more than $15 billion it is owed by Iraq.

The newspaper says the Bush administration has been pressing Iraq's creditors to follow Washington's lead and write off debt.

Iraq's Finance Minister Bayan Jabr, who was in Washington for World Bank meetings, told the Post that so far, 52 countries have canceled 80 to 100 percent of Iraq's debt.

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

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