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Head of Iraq's Largest Shi'ite Political Party Endorses Constitution


The leader of Iraq's largest Shi'ite Muslim political party has endorsed the country's draft constitution, urging Shi'ites to approve it in next month's national referendum.

Abdel Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) told thousands of supporters at a rally in Baghdad Saturday that it is their religious duty to vote "yes."

His endorsement echoes a similar call Thursday from the top Shi'ite religious authority in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

In a separate development, a judge in the southern city of Basra ordered the arrest of two British soldiers who were freed Monday in a controversial British raid on a local prison. The charges against them include killing an Iraqi policeman. British officials say their troops are not under Iraqi jurisdiction.

In Baghdad, a suicide car bomb exploded near an Iraqi military checkpoint Saturday, killing two soldiers.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.