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Suicide Bomber Kills 26 in Fallujah

A suicide bomber in Iraq's Sunni majority city Fallujah has killed at least 26 people. U.S. military officials also confirmed they have recovered the body of one of three missing American soldiers. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Irbil that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has nominated six ministers to fill empty seats in his cabinet.

U.S. military officials confirmed that the body recovered from the Euphrates River south of Baghdad Wednesday is that of Private Joseph Anzack, a 20-year-old soldier from the U.S. state of California. Thousands of American and Iraqi troops continue to search for two other soldiers, believed to have been kidnapped by al-Qaida May 12.

Also Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki nominated six ministers to fill seats that were left vacant when a group loyal to anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr walked out last month.

Mr. Maliki said he wanted to thank Moqtada al-Sadr for giving him the authority to choose ministers that met certain criteria. He said the ministers are technocrats and their background is not tainted by corruption.

The six nominees include one woman and must be confirmed by parliament. A vote could occur as early as Saturday.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Ali Dabbagh told reporters Thursday that the local governments in some parts of Iraq are ready to take over responsibility for security from coalition forces, but he did not say when

Dabbagh says the Iraqi government is working hard to take over the authority for security in the country, and officials in the Kurdish autonomous region appear to be ready. He said next on the list would be the southern city Basra.

Later, on Iraqi television, the commander of Basra's security forces said they are ready to take responsibility from British forces in the region by June.