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Car Bomb Strike Near Shi'a Party HQs In Baghdad

18 January 2005 -- A suicide bomber exploded his car in Baghdad today at a checkpoint outside the offices of a leading Shi'ite political party.

Police said at least one person was killed and several others injured in the blast near the office of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

SCIRI is a main contender in Iraq's 30 January elections, which insurgents have vowed to disrupt.

Insurgents have stepped up their attacks ahead of the poll. A top U.S. general said yesterday about 300,000 Iraqi and coalition troops will be available to protect voters on 30 January. Despite that, General George W. Casey said he expects violence on election day.


[For news, background, and analysis on Iraq's 30 January provincial and national elections, see RFE/RL's dedicated Iraq Votes 2005 website.]