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Iraqi Premier Urges Civil Society To Help Reconciliation

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (file photo) (epa) September 16, 2006 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called on Iraqi academics and civil rights activists to help his government's efforts to end sectarian violence.

Al-Maliki told a conference of civil society groups meeting in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone on September 16 that his government's national reconciliation initiative was the only way to "defy terror."

Al-Maliki met in August with hundreds of tribal leaders and urged them to help stem sectarian violence.

Iraqi police today said that they have found at least 35 bodies in the past 24 hours. Most of the bodies were found with their hands bound and some bore the signs of torture. The U.S. military has confirmed that, despite a major security crackdown, there has been a sharp rise in execution-style killings this week. Iraqi police have found around 150 bodies in the past four days, most of them in or around Baghdad.

The level of violence in the capital has prompted rumors that the Iraqi authorities plan to build trenches around Baghdad to prevent insurgents and explosives-laden cars from entering the city.

The U.S. military on September 16 denied the claim, but said that there is a plan to create a series of obstacles to ensure that movement into the city passes only through checkpoints.

(AFP, Reuters)

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