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Iraq Cabinet Approved Amid Attacks and Suspected Murder

After months of deadlock, a cabinet has been approved ushering in Iraq's first elected government since the fall of Saddam Hussein. But many political disputes remain unresolved.

By a show of hands, the Assembly approved the Cabinet, which includes 27 ministers and five acting ministers.

Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim al-Jaafari gestures during a news briefing
Members applauded as the Assembly Speaker, Hajim al-Hassani, announced the Cabinet had been approved by 180 lawmakers, out of 185 present. The Parliament has 275 seats.

In submitting his cabinet list, Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim al-Jaafari included members of Iraq's main Shi'ite, Sunni, and Kurdish factions.

Disputes still remain over two deputy prime minister slots, as well as the portfolios for the ministers of defense, oil, and electricity.

Mr. Jaafari, who is a Shi’ite, will be acting defense minister, a position that was supposed to go to a Sunni Arab.

Iraq's elected officials and government employees remain targets of insurgents.

In Baghdad Thursday, gunmen shot dead Lieutenant Colonel Alaa Khalil Ibrahim, on his way to his job in the visa section of the Interior Ministry.

Those murders came one day after gunmen assassinated a Shi’ite Muslim legislator at her Baghdad home.

Lamia al-Sakri is the first Iraqi elected official to be murdered since the January 30th elections.

Insurgents also launched a mortar attack on a U.S. military base in al-Musayyib Thursday about 60 kilometers south of Baghdad.

The mortars missed their intended target, hitting a nearby bus station at the height of the morning commute. Four Iraqis were killed, another 21 wounded.