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Iraq PM Predicts Unity Government Soon, Violence Continues


Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Nouri al-Maliki says he hopes to complete formation of a national unity government very soon.

But as the new prime minister works to form a government, violence continues.

Security officials say at least five people were killed Tuesday including a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a major political faction.

Also, at least 12 bodies have been found Tuesday including a 10-year-old boy and the decapitated bodies of three Iraqi soldiers found south of Baghdad.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, Mr. Maliki said the top Cabinet positions already have been filled, based on nominations by Iraq's Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish power blocs.

He did not name his ministerial choices. He says he expects to seek parliament's approval for his cabinet later this week.

The prime minister says the new defense and interior ministers will have no links to sectarian militias - a key demand of the U.S.-led coalition, since those ministries control Iraqi military and police forces.

American officials say a national unity government in Iraq is key to stemming bloodshed and averting a possible civil war.

In other news, the U.S. military says an American soldier died on Monday in a bombing in Baghdad.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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