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Iraqi Police Kill 17 Suspected Insurgents

Iraqi insurgents in 2004 Baghdad, 22 March 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Police say an Iraqi police antiterror unit shot dead 17 suspected insurgents and arrested 13 others in a clash near the Grand Mosque of the northern town of Mosul today.

Also in Mosul, five Iraqi civilians were killed by bomb attacks earlier in the day. And in Kirkuk, a high-ranking police official died today from wounds suffered in an attack on 20 March.

Meanwhile, Iraq's most important Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, met in Al-Najaf with newly-installed parliamentarians of the Shi'ite Alliance political grouping.

Al-Sistani said politicians forming a new Iraqi constitution should not exclude any of the country's ethnic or religious groups. Ali al-Dabagh, a member of the Shi'ite United Iraqi Alliance, said today that there are territorial and other issues remaining to be settled by the Shi'ite and Kurdish blocs that together control the parliament with a two-thirds majority.

(Radio Free Iraq/news agencies)