12:31 pm - Tuesday November 3, 2015

Suicide bomber attacks checkpoint near new Iraq PM’s house

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BAGHDAD: A suicide bomber attacked a checkpoint near the Baghdad home of new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday, two police sources and local media said. 

“The suicide bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint that leads to the prime minister’s house,” said one of the police sources. 

There was no word on casualties. Officials in Abadi’s office were not immediately available for comment on the attack. One official said: “We are in a meeting”. 

Iraq’s president nominated Abadi, a low-key figure, as prime minister because he is seen as a moderate Shia, unlike his predecessor Nuri al-Maliki, widely regarded as an authoritarian and sectarian ruler. 

Maliki rejected calls by Sunnis, Kurds, some Shias, power broker Iran and the United States to step aside for a less polarising figure who is capable of uniting Iraqis against Islamic State insurgents who seized large sections of the country. 

Although Maliki condemned the appointment of Abadi and said he would “fix the problem”, he appeared to back down, urging security forces to stay out of politics. 

Iraq has slipped back into the levels of bloodshed not seen since sectarian civil war, which peaked in 2006-2007 under American occupation.

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