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Saturday, August 23, 2014  

Hashemi to stay in autonomous Kurdish zone
BAGHDAD Iraq’s fugitive Vice-President Tareq Al Hashemi said late on Monday he would stay in the autonomous Kurdish zone unless he was told he had become an “embarrassment” to the Kurdish authorities.  

Speaking on Al Hurra, an Arabic-language satellite television broadcaster, Hashemi said he had no plans to quit the Kurdish region as long as he was permitted to remain.  

“I will stay in Kurdistan unless Kurdistan says that the status of Hashemi is causing us an embarrassment,” he said.  

By sheltering Hashemi, the Kurds - who have their own courts and police force - have been drawn into his dispute with the central government.  

Separately, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki fired two senior security officials in the western Anbar province after militants disguised as police killed 27 members of the security forces on Monday, officials said.  

Maliki approved the dismissals of the provincial police chief and the army’s head of the operation centre in Anbar, according to Mohmmed Fathi, spokesman for the governor of Anbar province, and Mizhir Hassan Al Mulla, a member of the security committee in the Anbar provincial council.  

The prime minister is keen to show that his forces have a grip on security ahead of an Arab summit later this month.   

“The provincial council had a meeting in which they raised a recommendation to (Maliki) to fire the Anbar police chief after the Haditha incident and other security breaches that happened before. The prime minister has approved the dismissal,” Mulla said on Tuesday.  

However, the police chief, Major-General Hadi Razij, would stay in his position until a replacement was found, he said.  

Maliki also approved the council’s request to dismiss the army’s provincial operations centre chief, Lieutenant General Abdul-Aziz Al Ubaidi, according to Fathi.  

In a statement seen, on Tuesday, Al Qaeda’s front group in Iraq claimed dozens of attacks in Baghdad this year, including a suicide bomb at a funeral and the assassination of the head of a women’s prison.

In a post on jihadist forum Honein, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) listed 43 incidents it was responsible for between January 10 and February 10 in the Iraqi capital.

The deadliest attack was a January 27 suicide car bomb against a funeral procession outside a hospital in a predominantly neighbourhood in east Baghdad that killed 31 people.

“Most of the victims in the funeral were close to the Safavid chief,” said the Honein posting, dated March 4, referring to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki.

The funeral was for Baghdad real estate agent Mohammed Al Maliki, but no reports have indicated he was related to the premier.

ISI also claimed a February 1 bomb attack that targeted the convoy of Iraqi MP Qais Al Shadhr, whom the insurgent group denounced as an “apostate.” Shadhr was unharmed in the attack, which wounded five civilians.

Agencies
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