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Iraq's Main Sunni Arab Bloc Supports Mecca Peace Accord


Iraq's main Sunni Arab party has strongly backed an agreement by Shi'ite and Sunni religious leaders aimed at halting violence between the two Muslim sects.

Adnan al-Dulaimi, who is head of the largest Sunni bloc in Iraq's parliament, Saturday welcomed the 10-point peace declaration. It was signed by Iraqi Shi'ite and Sunni leaders in the Muslim holy city of Mecca Friday.

Dulaimi called on all Iraqis and the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to support the edict, which includes bans on sectarian kidnappings and efforts to incite religious hatred.

Even as the so-called "Mecca Document" was signed, however, new outbreaks of violence continued across Iraq. In Amara, deadly clashes erupted between Iraqi police and Shi'ite militiamen loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. At least 10 police and 15 militiamen were killed, and 90 others were wounded.

Iraqi police have been deployed throughout Amara to protect the fragile truce following the two days of fighting.

In a separate development, a mortar attack in a residential neighborhood south of Baghdad has killed at least 18 people and injured dozens of others.

Meanwhile, in the capital, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus, killing four people and injuring 15 others.

Also, the U.S. military says coalition forces killed a suspected senior al-Qaida-in-Iraq leader and detained seven other suspected terrorists during a raid today in Ramadi.

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

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