Cheney in Iraq as at least nine dead in attacks
US Vice President, Dick Cheney paid a surprise visit to Iraq Sunday under heavy security, touring the country after parliamentary elections that he said were a major step toward drawing down U.S. forces.
"The participation levels all across the country were remarkable," Cheney told reporters. "And that's exactly what need to happen as you build a political structure in a self-governing Iraq that can unify the various segments of the population and ultimately take over responsibility for their own security."
Attacks go on
Meanwhile, bombing and shooting attacks in Baghdad and northern Iraq overnight and on early Sunday left at least nine people dead.
According to the AP, armed men in the northern city of Kirkuk shot dead two relatives of a senior official of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the two main Kurdish parties. They were shot late on Saturday as they walked near their house, police said.
In Baghdad, a roadside bomb on Sunday killed three police officers and injured two, while another left one policeman slain and two wounded in the northern town of Tuz, 110 kilometres south of Kirkuk, on Saturday night police said.
In addition, gunmen also broke into a barber shop in Baladruz, about 60 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, killing two policemen and a civilian and injuring the barber Saturday, police said. On Sunday, police also found the body of a former Iraqi Army officer at a fuel station in the heart of the capital. Abbas Abdullah Fadhl had been shot to death in his car, they said.
On Saturday, shootings left a former Iraqi air force officer, a member of a prominent Shiite party and two policemen dead, authorities confirmed. The US command also reported the death of a US Marine from a "non-hostile wound."
Sunday's attacks came as traffic returned to normal on the country's roads on the first full working day since the December 15 parliamentary election, after authorities eased security measures. A ban on vehicles was also lifted and the country's borders reopened on Saturday.