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BAGDAD,Iraq-Two deadly attacks were carried out in the North-eastern Iraq today. The attacks took place in the northern Shiite enclave of Khalis on the third day of Vice President Joe Biden's visit to that country. Vice President Biden is in-country working out the specifics of future relations with Iraq as the United States continues its draw-down and exit from that war-torn country.
Diyala, a Sunni province, of which the town of Khalis is a part, was once an Al-Qaida-ridden territory during 2004 to 2007 when violence in the country was at its highest. This morning, a car bomb was detonated as morning shoppers began to arrive. The bomb killed 10 people and injured another 22.
In a separate attack, this one in the town of Buhriz, another town in the province of Diyala, gunman stormed the house of a pro-government, anti-Al-Qaida leader in the early morning hours. He was killed, along with six members of his family, 4 of which were women. He was part of the Sahwa or Awakening Council.
In spite of the vicious attacks, the government of Iraq and security officials there maintain that they are fully prepared for the withdrawal of the remamining 13,000 troops due to leave the country by the end of December of this year. At one point, as many as 170,000 troops were in Iraq.
The running total of dead in attacks in the last eight days in Iraq has now reached 56. Many in the country feel that the insurgents will use this transitional time to further de-stabilize the country and attempt to increase their prominence through more violent attacks.