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Iraqi Parliament Speaker Postpones Session set for Monday

  • VOA News

The speaker of Iraq's parliament has postponed a long-awaited legislative session set for Monday, after negotiators again failed to agree on who will head the next government.

Talks among Sunni Arab, Kurdish and Shi'ite negotiators have been deadlocked since December over Sunni and Kurdish demands that Shi'ites replace Ibrahim al-Jaafari as their nominee for prime minister. Critics of Mr. Jaafari say he has done little to stop a surge in sectarian violence during his current term as prime minister.

Iraq's ambassador to the United States, Samir Sumaidaie, told CNN he is optimistic a compromise that will lead to the formation of a unity government is imminent. He said the compromise is likely to involve someone other than the current prime minister.

Meanwhile, police in Baghdad say a car bomb blast near a Shi'ite mosque killed at least four people and wounded six.

Police in the capital also say at least 12 people were kidnapped during the day Sunday from a business in the city. To the north, police say gunmen killed seven laborers in (the city of) Mosul, while gunmen in Baquba opened fire on a bus, killing five people and wounding four others.

South of Baghdad, police say at least 10 people were killed, when a car bomb exploded in Mahmoudiyah.

Earlier, U.S. officials say coalition forces killed five insurgents and wounded five during a raid on a suspected terrorist safe house south of the capital (at Yusifiyah). A U.S. statement says three of the dead were wearing suicide bomb vests.

Elsewhere, the U.S. military says four U.S. Marines were killed in action west of Baghdad on Saturday.

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