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Iraq's Sunni-backed lawmakers return to parliament
Iraq's parliament reconvenes as Sunni-backed lawmakers end their boycott
By The Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) ' Iraq's parliament has reconvened as Sunni-backed lawmakers ended their boycott to protest persecution of Sunni officials.

The Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc had banned lawmakers and government ministers from parliament and Cabinet sessions last month after the Shiite-led government issued an arrest warrant for the Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges.

The boycott brought government work to a standstill.



Iraqiya leaders lifted the parliament ban on Sunday but said their ministers will stay away from a weekly Cabinet meeting, also set for Tuesday.

Iraq's political crisis has been accompanied by a surge in attacks since the U.S. troops left in December. More than 200 people have been killed in bombings this month.

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

BAGHDAD (AP) ' An Iraqi official says a bomb blast north of Baghdad has killed three Iraqi soldiers, hours before the nation's parliament is to reconvene after Sunni-backed lawmakers ended their boycott to protest persecution of Sunni officials.

Police spokesman in Diyala province, Maj. Ghalib al-Karkhi, says a parked car bomb detonated near a military patrol late Monday in Baqouba, killing three soldiers and wounding three others.

Baqouba is a former al-Qaida stronghold, 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad.

Al-Qaida has frequently targeted Iraqi security forces since the U.S. troops left in December. The group appears to be exploiting a political crisis that has erupted after the Shiite-led government issued an arrest warrant for the Sunni vice president on terrorism charges.


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