Obama Congratulates Iraqis On National Vote

"President Barack Obama is congratulating Iraqis for turning out for elections despite ""acts of violence"" aimed at discouraging them from participating. Sunday's vote was Iraq's second national election since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Attacks on polling stations killed 31 people. The election will shape the next parliament and the choice of prime minister. Obama says Americans mourn the loss of life and ""honor the courage and resilience"" of Iraqis who ""defied threats to advance their democracy."" The president praises the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (Mah-LEH-key) and Iraqi security forces for preventing more widespread attacks. The U.S. plans to remove all combat forces by Aug. 31, and all remaining troops by the end of 2011."