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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Violence Continues in Iraq, Reconciliation Conference Set for June

13 May 2006

Sectarian and insurgent attacks have killed at least three Iraqis Saturday, and the bodies of at least five people, either tortured or shot, have been found.

The U.S. military also says a roadside bomb killed an American soldier today south of Baghdad.

In southern Iraq, the governor of Basra, Muhamad al-Waeli, said Saturday he has asked the area's provincial council to fire the police chief and the defense ministry to dismiss an Iraqi army general.

At a news conference, the governor said the two have not acted to rein in Basra's escalating violence.

Earlier, the U.S. military said an armed confrontation on Friday between two Iraqi army units north of Baghdad left one soldier dead.

In other news, officials say a national reconciliation conference will convene in Baghdad next month. The aim is to end sectarian violence.

On the political front, Iraq's prime minister-designate is struggling to meet a May 22 deadline to form his cabinet, the final step in establishing a national unity government for the war-torn country.

Nouri al-Maliki had been expected to announce his new cabinet Thursday, but disagreements among political leaders on who should head the oil, interior and defense ministries have slowed formation of the new cabinet.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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