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Middle East
Bombs in Baghdad as political crisis deepens
At least a dozen people killed in attacks in Iraqi capital, on same day that PM Maliki threatens to call early election.
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2012 18:53
The deadliest attack targeted the home of a tribal sheikh and pro-government militia leader in south Baghdad [Reuters]

At least twelve people have been killed in bombings across the Iraqi capital, one of which targeted a tribal sheikh in southern Baghdad.

Gunmen planted three bombs in the house of Hatim al-Mansouri, the leader of a pro-government Awakening militia in Mada'in, a neighbourhood which was long a stronghold for Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Mansouri was not injured, but his wife, daughter and son were all killed in the blast, according to police sources.

In the Ghazaliya district in western Baghdad, meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed three children from the same family and wounded three others, police said.

More than 180 people have been killed in June across Iraq in bombings targeting mainly Shia pilgrims and shrines, as political and sectarian tensions run high.

Iraq's Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions have been locked in political disputes since US troops withdrew in December.

Opponents of Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki have accused him of trying to consolidate power at their expense.

Call for early elections

Underscoring the political dispute, Maliki warned on Wednesday that he would call for early elections unless other political parties agree to negotiate to end a crisis over power-sharing.

Maliki later clarified his threat, telling reporters that he was merely presenting early elections as an option.

"In fact, sometimes media misunderstand the issue," he said after a meeting of his National Alliance bloc. "I did not call for early elections because this requires consultation within the National Alliance and with some partners. I rather said, if problems are not solved on the basis of dialogue, openness, and implementing the constitution... nothing would be left but to go for early elections."

Iraq's next parliamentary election is not scheduled until 2014, but the current coalition government has been mired in political infighting since it was formed 18 months ago, after an inconclusive 2010 vote.

According to Iraq's constitution, the prime minister can petition the president's office to dissolve the parliament and trigger early elections within 60 days.

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