07/10/2006, 00.00
IRAQ
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Sunnis call for UN intervention after massacre in Baghdad

Iraqi Accordance Front, the main Sunni bloc in parliament, calls on the United Nations to intervene. Talabani and al-Maliki urge the country to unite but admit it is on the edge of a slippery slope.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Sunni politicians called on the United Nations to intervene to ensure greater security to Iraqis. Their appeal was made after yesterday's massacre of Sunnis and today's retaliation against Shiites.

Made by the Iraqi Accordance Front, Iraq's main Sunni bloc in parliament, the call comes at a time when Iraq's president and prime minister admit the country is on the edge of a slippery slope.

Ayad al-Samaraie, a member of the Iraqi Accordance Front, said that "[o]ccupation forces cannot protect the people and therefore United Nations peacekeepers" should be sent.

A day earlier gunmen, most likely Shiites, entered a Baghdad neighbourhood and started killing more than 40 Sunnis in retaliation for an attack against a mosque in Baghdad's al-Jihad neighbourhood in the city's north-western periphery.

Sunni leaders blamed the killings on the al-Mahdi army loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. But Sadr pointed the finger at the West, blaming Sunday's violence on a "Western plan aimed at sponsoring a civil and sectarian war between brothers".

A Sunni retaliation came quickly. Last night 15 Shiites were killed and another 35 wounded in a car bomb against another Baghdad mosque.

Today Sadr City was targeted. In the big Shiite neighbourhood at least ten people died in three separate blasts, but the death toll might rise.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Iraqis: "Our destiny is to work together in brotherhood to defeat terrorism and insurgency.

Similarly, President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, appealed for unity. "We stand today on the edge of a slippery slope," he said.

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