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Iraqi PM Calls Meeting of Factional Leaders to Resolve Crisis


Iraq's prime minister has called a meeting of Iraqi political leaders to try to resolve the crisis facing his unity government.

Nouri al-Maliki said Sunday the leaders of Iraq's sectarian factions will begin meeting on Monday or Tuesday. His government has been in crisis since the country's main Sunni Arab bloc, the Iraqi Accordance Front, pulled its ministers out of the cabinet on August 1.

Mr. Maliki formed a unity government of Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions in 2006 to try to reduce Iraq's sectarian violence. But the government has been paralyzed by boycotts and infighting along ethnic and sectarian lines.

U.S. officials have expressed growing frustration with Iraq's slow progress in passing laws on national reconciliation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military says coalition forces detained 30 suspected terrorists Sunday across Iraq in operations against bombing networks and leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Earlier, the military said five American soldiers were killed Saturday in fighting south of Baghdad. Four soldiers were killed when they entered a house rigged with explosives in the district of Arab Jabour, while a fifth soldier was shot and killed during a foot patrol.

All five soldiers were members of Task Force Marne, a unit which deployed to the southern outskirts of Baghdad four months ago as part of the U.S. counter-insurgency troop surge.

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

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