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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq's PM Vows to Use 'Maximum Force' to End Terrorism

21 May 2006

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has vowed to use "maximum force" to end terrorism, as a spree of bombings killed at least 19 people Sunday.

Speaking after Iraq's new Cabinet met for the first time, Mr. al-Maliki says his government plans to create a special security force to reduce violence in Baghdad. But he says ending daily violence cannot be achieved only through force, noting there is a need for national reconciliation.

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the next six months will be critical for Iraq in terms of achieving stability.

In Washington, President Bush said Iraq's new unity government represents a "new day for millions of Iraqis who want to live in freedom" and a new chapter in relations with the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged that three key Iraqi cabinet posts remain unfilled - defense, interior and national security, but she said Americans must give the government more time to organize.

Iraq's parliament approved Prime Minister al-Maliki's unity government on Saturday following months of negotiations.

In Sundy's deadliest attack, a suicide bomber killed 13 people and wounded at least 17 in a crowded Baghdad restaurant.

Separately, the U.S. military said coalition forces killed six insurgents, detained three and destroyed a safe house and weapons caches in Ramadi. That followed a search last week for a terrorist is known as the "Prince of IEDs," or improvised explosive devices.

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

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