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Iraq's Jaafari Facing More Pressure to Step Down


Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is facing growing pressure to abandon his bid for a new term as sectarian violence continues in the country.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has joined Sunni, Kurdish, and secular politicians in calling on Shi'ite Mr. Jaafari to step down in a bid to promote national unity.

Mr. Talabani says failure to do so could further delay the formation of an Iraqi government. Sunni leaders say Mr. Jaafari has not done enough to stop Shi'ite militianmen from carrying out revenge attacks on Sunni mosques after the February 22nd bombing of a Shi'ite shrine.

An attack Sunday on a Sunni mosque in Baghdad left three people dead. Police say the attackers who stormed the al-Nour mosque wore military uniforms.

The head of U.S. Central Command, General John Abizaid, said Saturday that a national unity government in Iraq is needed to bring the country together.

The general met earlier in the week with both Mr. Talabani and Mr. al-Jaafari Efforts to form a broad-based government have been hindered by the sectarian violence.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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