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January 6, 2005 2:00 AM

Parts of Iraq unprepared for elections as surge in violence continues

Iraqi election officials have been unable to operate either freely or at all in parts of the country where a third of the population lives, including regions that are home to most of Iraqs Sunni Arab minority, according to a new Pentagon assessment obtained by Knight Ridder. The difficult security environment was underscored Thursday night when seven U.S. soldiers were killed in northwest Baghdad after their Bradley fighting vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. A Marine was killed in action in Anbar province, a Sunni Muslim area that includes the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, according to a Marine release. The release gave no further details.

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