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Sunnis Agree to Participate in Government

The new organization of Sunnis assembled in the capital city of Baghdad Saturday and called for the resignation of Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, a Shiite whose office, the group said, had a role in killing several Sunni clerics. Jabr denied government involvement in the killings and said he would not step down.

That same day, eight members of the elite Interior Ministry force known as the Wolf Brigade were killed in a predawn ambush on their 20-vehicle convoy in Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad, police 1st Lt. Nadar Adil said, according to the Associated Press.

The Sunnis blame the Wolf Brigade, among other groups, in the killing of their clerics. Ten Shiite and Sunni clerics are among more than 550 people killed in a spate of attacks following the April 28 announcement of the Shiite-led government.

The newly created Sunni alliance, which does not yet have a name, reportedly will open its first office in Baghdad and other branches later.

Shiites, who make up 60 percent of Iraq’s population, won the most seats in the National Assembly in the country’s Jan. 30 elections. They have allied with Kurds and seek to include Sunnis in the government. The new Sunni alliance could help re-empower the minority, which has only six posts in the 37-member Cabinet.

Meanwhile, violence continued in Baghdad and near Mosul on Monday.

Two car bombs exploded in Tal Afar, about 50 miles west of Mosul, killing at least 20 people and injuring another 20, hospital and police officials said.

The attacks may have targeted Hassan Baktash, a Shiite with close ties to the Kurdistan Democratic Party, said Khesro Goran, Mosul’s deputy governor, reported the AP.

A car bomb also exploded at a Baghdad restaurant popular with police, killing at least seven people and injuring more than 80.

A suicide car bomb blew up outside a Shiite mosque shortly before evening prayers in Mahmoudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad, killing at least 10 people and wounding another 30, authorities said.

Also, two carloads of gunmen killed Maj. Gen. Wael al-Rubaei, a top national security official, and his driver in Baghdad’s latest drive-by shooting.

Five U.S. troops were killed by roadside bombs and a vehicle accident in separate attacks Sunday, the U.S. military said Monday.

U.S. and Iraqi forces, meanwhile, detained 300 suspected insurgents in the largest sweep of the capital to date, according to the AP.

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