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Iraqi Parliament Postpones Next Session Until August 12

Iraqi State Television says that the country's parliament has postponed its next session until August 12.

The postponement comes after the first session of Iraq's new parliament ended in disarray on July 1. A second session had been expected this week.

The parliament met on July 1 to discuss candidates for the position of speaker, but the session ended early after most Sunni and Shi'ite representatives refused to return from a break.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's supporters won the most seats, though not a majority, in national elections more than two months ago.

But the parliament has yet to begin the process of choosing the country's top three positions, which according to an unofficial deal are split between the Shi'ite Arab, Sunni Arab, and Kurdish communities.

Meanwhile, a senior Iraqi general has been killed by shelling west of Baghdad.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's security spokesman said the general, Najm Abdullah Sudan, "was killed by hostile shelling in Ibrahim bin Ali."

The spokesman, Qassem Atta, said Sudan, army commander of the sixth division, which is responsible for part of the capital, Baghdad, "met martyrdom on the battlefield as he was fighting...terrorists."

He did not give further details.

The town of Ibrahim bin Ali lies in the Abu Ghraib area, west of Baghdad, near where security forces have been locked in a months-long standoff with militants who control Fallujah and parts of nearby Ramadi.

Militants led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now renamed the Islamic State, swept out of the Fallujah area last month to take Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul last month and have advanced near Baghdad.

ISIL has declared an Islamic caliphate in areas it occupies in Syria and has seized in western and northern Iraq.

With reporting by AFP and AP
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