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Iraqi Regional Leader Wants Elections Delayed

A leader in Iraq's troubled Diyala province says his region's elections, set for early next year, should be postponed.

The head of Diyala's provincial council, Ibrahim Hassan Bajilan, said Tuesday that the vote should be delayed for six months because of poor security. He said sectarian violence in Diyala has displaced thousands of people and that candidates in the election face possible assassination.

Voters in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces are scheduled to elect provincial councils on January 31.

The U.S. military says Diyala is one of the last strongholds for insurgents.

Meanwhile, Iraqi police have arrested 10 people accused in deadly truck bombings in the city of Fallujah last week. Iraqi police said a senior al-Qaida in Iraq operative was among those arrested.

Two suicide truck bombers struck Fallujah last Thursday, killing at least 15 people, including Iraqi police officers.

The U.S military in Iraq said today that coalition forces detained 14 suspects during two days of operations aimed at dismantling al-Qaida in Iraq command and control networks.

The U.S. military also said it is not obliged to obey an Iraqi court order to release Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, a freelance photographer working for the Reuters news agency, and will hold him into 2009.

A U.S. military spokesman said intelligence information lists Jassam as a threat to Iraq's security and stability and that he will be processed for release "in a safe and orderly manner" after December 31.

Iraq's Central Criminal Court ruled on November 30 there was no evidence against Jassam and ordered the U.S. military to release him. He has been held in Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport since September.

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