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Bush to address nation on terrorism, Iraq

Sunni mosque site of assault in Baghdad

President Bush delivers a speech on the economy Friday in Indianapolis.
President Bush delivers a speech on the economy Friday in Indianapolis.

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CNN's Ben Wedeman on an assault by gunmen on a Sunni mosque.
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U.S. troops on patrol in Tikrit engage in a firefight.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will address the nation Sunday night to talk about the war on terrorism, with a primary focus on developments in Iraq, a senior administration official said Friday.

"We want to bring the country up to speed on where we are and where we are headed," the senior official said.

The senior official said the speech would start at 8:30 p.m. EDT, run about 15 minutes and be delivered from the White House residence.

"The president felt this was a good time to talk to the American people about our progress and the need to go forward," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters traveling with Bush following his economic speech in Indianapolis Friday.

It's hoped Bush's speech will send a global message that a peaceful and free Iraq will set an example for the Middle East and the rest of the world, he said.

The televised address comes as the White House seeks United Nations support for a new resolution creating a multinational security force in Iraq.

It also comes at a time when many returning members of Congress, including Republicans close to the White House, are saying they are facing increasing skepticism and questions from constituents back home, and recommending that Bush deliver a major address to the American people.

Earlier Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell promoted the draft U.N. resolution that the Bush administration says would broaden the multinational presence in Iraq and help restore Iraqi sovereignty.

"Far more Iraqis worry about our leaving too soon than about our staying too long," Powell said. "They need not worry, for we will neither leave too soon, nor stay too long."

Powell spoke in a foreign policy speech delivered at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., that touched on many issues, including Iraq.

His remarks came as U.N. Security Council members gathered at the British mission in New York to go over a working document of the proposed resolution.

The draft resolution, Powell said, would invite the Iraqi Governing Council "to submit a plan and a timetable for them to write a constitution, develop political institutions and conduct free elections; all of this leading to their resumption of sovereignty over their own country."

He said the Bush administration will listen to the concerns of all Security Council members, who have started discussions on the plan -- which would authorize a U.N.-endorsed multinational force with a U.S. commander.

"There's nothing unusual about this: With a force this size, and with the majority of that force coming from one country, that country is the provider of the commander. And we have seen this model work on many occasions in the past, and we are confident it will work now."

He said the resolution will help hasten Iraqi sovereignty.

"This has been the president's goal from the very beginning, and this new resolution will move us further along toward that goal."

The United States began discussing its working document with other Security Council members Friday.

U.N. Security Council members met Friday to discuss the proposal and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he believes a compromise may be reached

The three Security Council member nations that most adamantly opposed the U.S.-led Iraq war -- France, Russia and Germany -- have expressed concerns that in its current form the proposal doesn't provide enough power to the United Nations.

"I think it is possible to get a compromise resolution," Annan told CNN in an exclusive interview. "There's going to be some discussions and negotiation but I think it is possible to get a compromise." (Full story)

Baghdad mosque attacked

Three gunmen opened fire Friday at a Sunni mosque in Baghdad as worshippers were leaving after morning prayers, wounding three people, one critically, according to Iraqi police and witnesses.

Iraqi police said a truck carrying the gunmen drove up to the Qiba'a Mosque around 5:45 a.m. (9:45 p.m. Thursday EDT), and the men got out and fired on a crowd of about 30 to 40 people using automatic weapons and handguns.

Witnesses described the shooters as Iraqis. The gunmen returned to the vehicle and sped away, police said.

The mosque is in Sha'ab, a mostly Shiite neighborhood in the Iraqi capital.

A man stands guard at the Shiite Khadimiya Mosque in Baghdad, a week after the car bombing of the Shiite Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf -- and as news spreads of Friday's assault on a Sunni mosque.
A man stands guard at the Shiite Khadimiya Mosque in Baghdad, a week after the car bombing of the Shiite Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf -- and as news spreads of Friday's assault on a Sunni mosque.

Iraqi police are protecting the mosque, which remained open for prayer services on the Muslim holy day of Friday. Security concerns have led many people to stop visiting mosques, some Iraqis said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities said they are concerned it could signal a violent increase in tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Shiites make up about 60 percent of Iraq's population, and they were persecuted under Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated government.

Friday's shooting comes a week after the bombing of the Iman Ali Mosque in the Shiite holy city of Najaf that killed at least 83 people, including a leading cleric. About 10,000 people attended prayer services at that mosque Friday.

Rumsfeld visits troops

The latest attack came as U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited U.S. soldiers in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit in north-central Iraq to get a feel for the security situation and the search for the deposed ruler.

Rumsfeld was scheduled to travel to Mosul later Friday for briefings about military operations in northern Iraq.

In a short address to troops in Tikrit, Rumsfeld praised what he called the "truly outstanding job" soldiers were doing to secure the country.

Kerik steps down from police advisory post

Bernard Kerik, the former New York police commissioner, has "completed his assignment" as senior policy adviser to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, a senior official in the Interior Ministry told CNN Friday.

Kerik's last day was Tuesday, and he has since left the country.

A successor to his post is to be announced soon.

Kerik was brought to Iraq in May to help rebuild the Iraqi police force.

Other developments

Soldiers in Deerfield, Massachusetts, carry the casket of Army Sgt. Gregory Belanger, who died in Iraq.
Soldiers in Deerfield, Massachusetts, carry the casket of Army Sgt. Gregory Belanger, who died in Iraq.

• The son of Iraq's former deputy ambassador to the United Nations pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges that he acted illegally as an agent of a foreign government. Wisam Noman Al-Anbuke, 24, was charged with providing information to Iraqi agents about Iraqi dissidents living in the United States, federal prosecutors said. Charges were filed against his 30-year-old brother, Raed Rokan Al-Anbuke, earlier this year.

• An Army sergeant was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of another soldier during a traffic accident in May, coalition authorities said Friday. Sgt. Oscar L. Nelson III was sentenced in a court-martial this week to seven years' confinement, demotion to the rank of private and a dishonorable discharge. (Full story)

• Northwest of Tikrit, 4th Infantry Division soldiers discovered a cache with an rocket-propelled grenade, three 82 mm mortar rounds, three 60 mm mortar rounds, 88 fuses for 60 mm mortar rounds and one 82 mm mortar tube, U.S. Central Command said. Soldiers also detained a taxi driver northeast of Ba'qubah, and a search of the taxi resulted in the confiscation of a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, 12 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, one AK-47 and one MP5 submachine gun.

CNN's Ted Barrett, Dana Bash, Rym Brahimi, John King, David Ensor, Elise Labott, Barbara Starr and Ben Wedeman contributed to this report.


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