Iran calls for regional moot on Iraq security

BAGHDAD (Reuters/AFP) - The Iranian Foreign Minister on Saturday called for Iraqs neighbours to hold a meeting to discuss Iraqi security after Baghdad accused Syria of harbouring the planners of two massive bomb attacks. Iranian FM Manouchehr Mottaki said keeping violence under control in Iraq was vital to protecting the security of the entire region. Mottaki arrived to offer his condolences on the death of Shia politician Abdel Aziz Al-Hakim, who was buried on Saturday, and held a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. We hope to get the cooperation and approval of all neighbouring countries for this meeting, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters through a translator during a visit to Iraq. Maliki in turn insisted that security challenges would not disrupt the countrys progress. The horrible crimes that took place on bloody Wednesday will not reduce our will to fight the Baathist alliance, which is planning to take the country back to square one and an era of tyranny, said the Iraqi Premier. Maintaining security and stability in Iraq, or losing it, has a direct impact on all of Iraqs neighbouring countries, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in a statement. Speaking earlier, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told AFP that Mottaki came to Baghdad to present his condolences for the deaths of Hakim and those who perished in the recent attacks. Meanwhile, two bomb attacks in volatile parts of northern Iraq killed at least 15 people and wounded 37, police said, interrupting a relatively peaceful start to the Ramadan fast. In one attack, a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives and rockets into the main gate of a police station on the outskirts of Shirqat, a town 300km north of Baghdad, at about 8:00am (0500 GMT), police said. Police opened fire to stop him but he detonated the load, killing at least nine people and wounding 17. Four of those killed in the attack were police. The blast also damaged more than a dozen shops, two dozen cars and left a 2-metre-wide (7-foot) crater in the road, a Reuters reporter saw. Later, a truck bomb parked beside a market killed six people and wounded 20 in the town of Sinjar, 390km northwest of Baghdad. Sinjar is mostly inhabited by Yazidis, members of a pre-Islamic Kurdish sect.

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