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Radical Shi'ite Cleric Calls on Arab Nations to Help Iraq

Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called on Arab states to help put an end to what he called the suffering of Iraqis.

Sadr made his comments in an interview broadcast on Iraqi television Thursday. Sadr warned Arab nations that Iraq's violence could spread to them unless they begin to cooperate to help Iraq. But, he did not say how they could help his country. Sadr also rejected outside interference in Iraq, including from Iran.

Last month, the United States urged Iran to stop its alleged support of militias in Iraq, during the first high-level talks between the U.S. and Iran in almost 30 years. Iran denies it is responsible for insurgent attacks in Iraq.

Sadr, the radical cleric and leader of the Mahdi Army, also repeated his call for U.S. troops to leave Iraq.

Meanwhile on Thursday, car bombs around Iraq killed a total of 17 people, including three soldiers, and wounded 22 others.

In the northern city of Mosul, gunmen killed a journalist working with the Aswat al-Iraq (Voices of Iraq) news agency.

Britain's Defense Ministry says a British soldier was shot and killed while on patrol northwest of Basra.

In other developments, the U.S. military said coalition forces detained 16 suspects in Sadr City believed to be members of a network that moves explosives from Iran into Iraq, and sends militants to Iran.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.