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Iraqi Shi'ite and Sunni Politicians Meet


Iraq's top Shi'ite and Sunni politicians met in Baghdad Saturday to discuss sectarian violence that has left scores of Iraqis dead. The violence erupted in the aftermath of Wednesday's attack on the Shi'ite Golden Mosque in Samarra.

Sunni politicians who had boycotted negotiations to form a new government attended the meeting, which came after a round of phone calls to the top Iraqi political leaders from U.S. President George Bush. Mr. Bush urged the leaders to work together to calm the violence.

Earlier, Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's representatives met in the capital with the most influential Sunni religious organizations. They vowed to stop attacks on mosques.

Violence has continued despite a curfew and a ban in Baghdad and its suburbs on automobile traffic. Officials say gunmen stormed a Shi'ite home near Baquba on Saturday, killing 12.

In Baghdad, gunmen killed at least three policemen at a funeral procession of an Arab TV newswoman.

Wednesday's bombing of the Shi'ite Askariya shrine in Samarra triggered a wave of violence. The shrine, which draws pilgrims from around the world, contains the tombs of the 10th and 11th Shi'ite imams, Ali al-Hadi and his son, Hassan al-Askari. It was built at the site where the 12th Shi'ite imam, Mohammed al-Mahdi, disappeared. Known as the "hidden imam," he is the son and grandson of the two imams buried at Askariya.

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