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Sunni Lawmakers Boycott Iraqi Parliament After Killing

Iraqi Sunni lawmakers said on February 15 that they were boycotting parliament after the killing of a senior tribal leader blamed on Shi'ite militia.

Officials said Sheikh Qassem Sweidan Al-Janabi, his son, Muhammad, and six bodyguards were abducted and killed in south Baghdad late on February 13.

The slain tribal leader was a key player in efforts to combat sectarianism.

The "open-ended boycott" by Sunni lawmakers -- who hold 73 mandates in the 328-seat parliament -- was announced in a statement posted on the official Facebook page of Sunni parliament speaker Salim Al-Juburi.

The statement said Sunni lawmakers discussed the killings in an "extraordinary meeting" and will submit "to the government a draft resolution to ban militias and criminalize sectarianism."

Three Sunni clerics were killed by suspected Shi'ite gunmen in Basra, a majority Shi'ite southern province, last month -- an event that triggered outrage in a country mired in sectarian violence.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Al-Jazeera

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