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Iraq's Chief Sunni Cleric Sought on Terrorism Charges


Iraq's government has issued an arrest warrant for the country's chief Sunni cleric.

Iraq's interior minister, Jawad Bolani, said on Iraqi television Thursday that Harith al-Dari, head of the Muslim Clerics Association, is being sought on charges of supporting terrorism.

News reports say Dari is currently traveling outside of Iraq.

The Interior Ministry did not give details about the charges but Dari has criticized Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the U.S. occupation of Iraq. He also made comments that appear to support al-Qaida.

The interior ministry is controlled by the majority Shi'ites.

A spokesman for the clerics association, Mohamed Bashar al-Faidi, told al-Jazeera television that the warrant for Dari reflects what he called the bankruptcy of Iraq's government

Meanwhile, Iraqi police say attacks in Baghdad Thursday left at least 15 people dead.

Also Thursday, Iraq's Higher Education Minister Abed Dhiab al-Ujaili said kidnappers who seized scores of people in Baghdad Tuesday tortured and killed some of the captives

The kidnappers have freed 70 of the hostages. Shi'ite militiamen are suspected of having carried out the raid.

Elsewhere, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said his government will not allow Kurdish separatist guerrillas to operate from Iraq against Turkish targets. He spoke after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

The Turkish government blames Kurdish guerrillas for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the militants began an armed campaign for a Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984.

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

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