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Iraq Extends Security Clampdown


Iraq's interior minister has banned all vehicle movement in Baghdad through Monday morning to thwart sectarian violence that erupted after the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine Wednesday.

Despite a curfew, Iraqi officials say gunmen stormed a Shi'ite home near Baquba, killing 12.

In southern Baghdad, officials say the bodies of 14 Iraqi police commandoes were recovered following overnight clashes.

Also in the capital, gunmen killed at least three policemen at a funeral procession of a well-known newswoman for an Arab TV station.

Police say a car bomb in Karbala killed at least five people.

Iraq's Defense Minister says civil war will never end if it erupts, and he would put tanks on the street to prevent it.

Meanwhile, the main Sunni Arab political bloc says it might stop boycotting the formation of a new Iraqi government if Iraq's prime minister follows through on promises to ease the crisis.

Wednesday's bombing of the Shi'ite Askariya shrine in Samarra triggered a wave of violence that has claimed scores of lives.

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 AFP, AP and Reuters.