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Iraq Constitution Talks Extended Another Day

The speaker of Iraq's parliament says negotiations are continuing on the wording of the draft constitution, and has extended talks for one more day - saying it would allow for a consensus among Iraq's religious and ethnic groups.

Hajim al-Hassani made the announcement minutes after a midnight Thursday deadline passed without parliament voting on the document.

On Monday, Shi'ites and Kurds accepted a draft constitution, but Sunni Arabs opposed it, and negotiators were given three more days to try to win a consensus.

The White House Thursday downplayed the delays, saying the Iraqis view the constitution as an important document which must be carefully crafted.

The political talks took place against a backdrop of new violence. Gunmen attacked a convoy belonging to Iraq's Kurdish president Jalal Talabani, killing six of his bodyguards, but the president was not present when the attack occurred. And south of Baghdad, police discovered the bodies of 36 men shot execution-style.