Roadside bombs killed three US troops in Baghdad and in Ramadi, west of the capital, on Thursday, press reports indicated on Friday. These latest deaths raised to 2,008 the number of U.S. military members who have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003, according to an unofficial count.
Meanwhile, the alliance of Shiite religious parties that swept Iraq's election in January has decided to remain together to contest the Dec. 15 parliamentary ballot, an official said Friday, according to the AP. This decision by the United Iraqi Alliance could ensure that its religious parties, which all have strong ties to Tehran, remain a leading force in Iraq's next parliament.
The United Iraqi Alliance includes Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's Dawa Party, Shiite cleric Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim's Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Sadrist movement of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and Fadhila party, a Shiite group whose spiritual leader is al-Sadr's late father, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr.
Friday night is the deadline for parties to submit their final list of candidates to the Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq, or IECI.