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At Least 86 Found Shot Or Strangled In Baghdad

The nine men were taken to a U.S. detention center, Stover said.

The day's other reported dead included three bodies found in the northern city of Mosul, one Shiite pilgrim killed by a bomb near the southern city of Karbala, and the editor of an Iraqi weekly shot to death near his home in Baghdad, police told news agencies. The editor, Muhsin Khudhair, was the third Iraqi journalist killed in a week.

The U.S. military also reported Tuesday the deaths of two American soldiers in Anbar province on Monday, without giving details.

Tuesday's grisly finds unfolded as Iraqi politicians began what they said would be daily meetings of all of the main political parties to form a national unity government. The creation of a government has been delayed for three months -- since parliamentary elections Dec. 15 -- by political power struggles, sectarian bloodshed and opposition to the Shiites' nominee for prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jafari, who has been transitional prime minister for about a year.

The meeting was hosted by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, a prominent Shiite cleric and head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a key member of the Shiite coalition that won 130 seats in the December balloting, the largest block in the 275-member parliament.

Participants in the meeting said afterward that little headway had been made.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said in an interview published Sunday in London's al-Hayat newspaper that the delay was "due to the fact that politicians are occupied with distribution of posts, and their discussions are about individuals. They have to understand that the interest of Iraq must come first, as we are in a crisis. The country is bleeding and headed for a civil war, and it's the responsibility of Iraqi politicians to feel people's pains and understand their needs."

That sentiment was echoed Tuesday in the streets of the capital, where roadblocks, street closures and other security measures put in place for the gathering of political leaders at Hakim's headquarters caused gridlock across central Baghdad.

"What kind of people are those politicians who did not even think of the people and how would they go to work and school?" said Ahmed Sabah, 23, a student at Baghdad University. "How do they expect to build a developed country if an employee can't go to his job and a student and professor cannot go to their school?"

"I am sure that after this terrible day," he said, "they will not agree on anything."

Correspondent John Ward Anderson in Baghdad and special correspondents Bassam Sebti and K.I. Ibrahim in Baghdad and Hassan Shammari in Baqubah contributed to this report.

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