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Iraqi politician warns of 'river of blood'

Deutsche Presse-Agentur | April 12 2006

Baghdad - The chairman of a Sunni Iraqi party warned on Tuesday that Iraq faced massive bloodshed if the country's rowing political factions failed soon to form a government as a meeting of Shiite politicians ended without a solution to the impasse.

Saleh al-Mutlaq, of the non-sectarian Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, said that 'an Iraqi government should be formed in the next few days, otherwise Iraq will drown in a river of blood.'

Al-Mutlaq was also quoted in the Tuesday issue of the pan-Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat as describing the current wrangling among political factions as 'sadism.'

'People are being slaughtered on the street while politicians are busy seeking positions,' he said.

A meeting Tuesday of members of the main Shiite grouping in the Iraqi parliament ended without the participants agreeing on a candidate for the post of prime minister.

Sunni Arab and Kurdish parties have repeated their opposition to current prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari continuing in the post.

Many observers believe the failure of Iraqi factions to resolve a stalemate over the choice of prime minister to head a national unity government has fuelled the ongoing escalation of violence.

Elsewhere Tuesday, police reported the discovery of the bodies of 11 men aged between 20 and 30 in Mussayeb city, 60 kilometres south of Baghdad.

Police in Hillah near Mussayeb said the bodies were found in two different parts of the city, that they were blindfolded with their hands tied and appeared to have been tortured. Two of the dead were Iraqi police officers.

Police in Baquba also found the corpse of woman carrying an Iranian passport who appeared to have been shot dead, a security official in the city north of Baghdad said.

There were reports of injuries among the US military Tuesday after an army vehicle struck a roadside bomb on the Ramadi-Khalidiyah highway, Iraqi security sources said.

A police officer from Khalidiyah said the attack took place 85 kilometres west of Baghdad and that smoke could be seen billowing from the US patrol vehicle.

US soldiers sealed off the area and detained 12 residents for questioning, the officer said.

In other developments, three Iraqi soldiers died Tuesday during a firefight with insurgents in Ramadi that ended when US troops stepped in and imposed a curfew on the western Iraqi city.

In Baghdad, three civilians were killed and eight others injured when an unidentified attacker opened fire on a minibus in the predominantly Shiite Sadr City district.

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