Spokesman: Iraq’s Sunni-backed bloc united against Prime Minister al-Maliki staying in power

By Saad Abdul-kadir, AP
Monday, October 4, 2010

Iraq’s pro-Sunni bloc united against al-Maliki bid

BAGHDAD — The spokesman for the Sunni-backed bloc that came first in parliamentary elections seven months ago says the entire coalition is united against having Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki remain in office.

Hayder al-Mulla’s declaration seeks to counter reports that some of the Sunni-backed bloc’s backers have joined al-Maliki.

It also shows deep sectarian divisions in Iraq have festered following the March vote, in which no group got enough seats to form a government.

Al-Maliki’s Shiite-led coalition now appears close to gaining a parliamentary majority. But the head of the pro-Sunni group, Ayad Allawi, has vowed to oppose any government led by al-Maliki.

The spokesman told reporters on Monday the entire bloc opposes al-Maliki staying in office.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

BAGHDAD (AP) — A roadside bombing targeted the convoy of a deputy minister in Iraq’s government on Monday, killing a bodyguard and wounding at least seven people, police officials said.

In a separate attack, an employee at Iraq’s public works ministry was severely wounded after a bomb attached to his car exploded, police said.

The blasts are part of a wave of apparent Sunni insurgent attacks against security personnel and government workers.

The first explosion struck the convoy of Fouad Al-Moussawi, a deputy minister of sciences and technology, in an area of southeast Baghdad.

Al-Moussawi was not harmed, but one of his security team was killed and four others were wounded, police officials said. Three civilians also were injured. Officials at Ibn Al-Nafess Hospital confirmed the police report.

About two hours later, a bomb affixed to the car of the employee of the public works ministry went off in western Baghdad, leaving him with serious injuries, police and hospital officials said.

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

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