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Iraq’s First Elected Government Takes Office

One by one, al-Jaafari and members of his Cabinet walked up to a podium and pledged to defend Iraq and its people. But some Cabinet positions, including the defense and oil ministers, have yet to be filled.

Al-Jaafari had wanted to have all Cabinet posts filled by the swearing in ceremony, but there was some last-minute haggling over the defense ministry, which al-Jaafari had wanted to give to a member of the Sunni minority, according to the Associated Press.

But some members of his Shiite-dominated alliance rejected candidates with ties to ousted leader Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime, reported the AP.

Former Pentagon favorite Ahmad Chalabi, the Shiite deputy prime minister, was given temporary responsibility of the oil ministry.

The Cabinet now includes 15 Shiite Arab ministers, seven Kurds, four Sunnis and one Christian. Two of four deputy prime ministers — a Shiite and a Kurd — were sworn in.

The approval last week of a partial Cabinet, which largely excluded Sunnis, was followed by an upswing in insurgent attacks that have left 168 people dead.

And the fighting continued Tuesday when insurgents attacked coalition forces in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad. Twelve militants, an Iraqi soldier and two Iraqi civilians were killed, according to the U.S. military.

Four insurgents, two Iraqi soldiers and two U.S. Marines were injured. Five militants were captured, according to the military’s statement.

Three roadside bombs targeting police patrols detonated in western Baghdad on Tuesday, wounding four officers, said police Maj. Musa Abdul Karim, reported the AP.

Elsewhere, gunmen killed three Iraqi policemen in separate attacks in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, according to police.

Meanwhile, investigators concluded that two missing Marine jet fighters likely collided in the air. The body of one of the missing pilots was found, a senior U.S. defense official said Tuesday at the Pentagon, the AP reported.

An emergency beacon from one of the F/A-18s was detected on the ground about 15 miles southwest of Karbala in southcentral Iraq. An ejection seat was found at the site as well. The search for both planes continues.

The two single-seat aircraft launched from the USS John Stennis on Monday. They were reported missing by U.S. military authorities on Monday evening.

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