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Bomb kills 9 at Iraqi wedding party

/ Source: The Associated Press

A bomb planted on a well-wisher's car at a wedding celebration in Iraq on Wednesday killed nine people and injured 15 others outside the house of the groom, a police lieutenant, authorities said.

At least eight people died in other violence around the country.

The wedding attack happened at around 5 p.m. in Musayyib, 40 miles south of Baghdad, as guests gathered at the groom's gate before heading to the bride's house in line with tradition, a police officer and a hospital medic said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Even though insurgents attack regularly, Iraq is far more secure now than in the past years of war. U.S. combat forces pulled back from cities to bases outside urban centers at the end of June, signaling confidence in the ability of Iraqi forces to keep order.

Trouble spot
Militants have been driven out of many of their strongholds, although the northern city of Mosul remains a trouble spot.

A civilian, a soldier and two suspected insurgents died in clashes there on Wednesday, and a car bomb north of the city killed three civilians and injured 15 others, police officers said, also on condition of anonymity.

West of Baghdad, a bomb exploded at a house around the predominantly Sunni district of Abu Ghraib, killing a man and his 16-year-old son as they spread manure to fertilize their garden, police said. Five men in a neighboring house were injured and taken to a hospital.

On Wednesday, Iraqi officials said the Kurdish-run north of the country could not vote this month on a draft constitution, a document perceived by Iraqi Arabs as an effort to expand Kurdish authority at the expense of the central government.

Tension between Kurds and Arabs, particularly around the northern, oil-rich area of Kirkuk, is seen as a major threat to Iraqi stability.

Proposed constitution on hold
The election commission chairman, Faraj al-Haidari, said Kurds can't hold a referendum on a proposed constitution on the same day as elections for a regional parliament on July 25.

"The commission now has little time to prepare for the referendum, and we also have shortages and problems with vote papers and printing material," al-Haidari said.

The draft constitution would expand the boundaries of the Kurdish-run region to include Kirkuk, something strongly opposed by the Arab residents of the disputed city.

The Kurdish parliament planned to discuss the issue Thursday in the regional capital, Irbil.