Iraq's reconciliation conference postponed

Published April 4, 2012 11:45AM (EDT)

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's parliament speaker says the nation's long-awaited reconciliation conference has been postponed because of "mounting differences" among rival political groups.

Osama al-Nujaifi said on Wednesday that the conference has been postponed indefinitely and that holding it under current circumstances would only complicate matters. He did not elaborate.

The dialogue was to formally open on Thursday.

Iraq's Sunnis accuse the Shiite-led government of seeking to marginalize them and of targeting senior Sunni politicians.

The country's Kurds are at odds with the central government on issues ranging from the development of oil resources in the self-ruled northern Kurdish region to the issues of disputed areas.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BAGHDAD (AP) — A car bomb targeting a local police chief missed him Wednesday but killed five people and wounded 15 in a Sunni town north of Baghdad, said Iraqi officials.

A police official says the morning blast missed the convoy of police Col. Qandil Khalil, the head of Duluiyah police, as it was driving near a local market.

Duluiyah, a former al-Qaida stronghold, is 45 miles (75 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

A hospital official confirmed the death toll, adding that all casualties were civilians. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information.

Meanwhile, the journalists' watchdog group Reporters Without Borders demanded on Wednesday that Iraq's government start an investigation into the killing Tuesday of a local TV presenter in Tikrit, another Sunni town north of Baghdad.

Kamiran Salaheddin, a presenter for the local Salaheddin Channel, was killed by a sticky bomb attached to his car.

"The Iraqi authorities must do everything possible to ensure that those responsible for his death are brought to justice. His murder must not go unpunished," said the RSF.

Iraq ranked 152nd out of 179 countries on RSF's press freedom index for 2011-2012, after dropping 22 ranks on the list from the year before.

Although violence has dropped significantly in Iraq, insurgents attacks are still frequent.

By Salon Staff

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