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Iraqi Government Receives Confidence Vote

Ibrahim al-Ja'fari (file photo) 14 June 2005 -- As insurgents carried out attacks across Iraq, the Shi'ite-dominated government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari received a vote of confidence today in the National Assembly.

Al-Ja'fari's 37-member government and its program were overwhelmingly approved by a show of hands in the 275-member parliament.

Shi'ites have 140 of the 275 seats in the National Assembly, while Kurds have the second-largest bloc with 75 seats. Sunni Arabs have only 17 seats in parliament, largely because many boycotted the 30 January elections or stayed home for fear of attacks at the polls.

The government has made security its top priority but has been criticized for its seeming inability to pacify the insurgency.

Suicide Bombings

A Sunni Arab group took credit for a suicide bombing in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk today that killed 22 people and wounded more than 80 others.

The attack came as Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) head Mas'ud Barzani was being sworn in just north of Kirkuk as the first president of the Kurds' autonomous region.

The Army of Ansar al-Sunna -- a Sunni Arab group responsible for some major suicide attacks in the north -- posted a statement saying it was their attack and that the targets were off-duty Kurdish and Shi'ite Arab soldiers waiting for their pay.

A suicide car bomber also rammed his vehicle into an Iraqi Army checkpoint at Kanan, north of Baghdad, killing five soldiers and wounding two others.

The bodies of more than 20 security guards who were executed and dumped west of Baghdad were also brought to a Baghdad hospital today for autopsies.


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