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Iraqi rejects calls to form unity government

By The Associated Press

This article was published June 25, 2014 at 11:05 a.m.

kurdish-peshmerga-fighters-take-their-positions-behind-a-wall-and-sand-barriers-on-the-front-line-with-militants-from-the-islamic-state-in-iraq-and-the-levant-in-tuz-khormato-62-miles-south-of-the-oil-rich-province-of-kirkuk-northern-iraq-on-wednesday-june-25-2014

Kurdish peshmerga fighters take their positions behind a wall and sand barriers on the front line with militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Tuz Khormato, 62 miles south of the oil rich province of Kirkuk, northern Iraq, on Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday rejected calls for an interim “national salvation government” in his first public statement since President Barack Obama challenged him last week to create a more inclusive leadership or risk a sectarian civil war.

U.S. officials, meanwhile, said there are indications that Syria launched airstrikes into western Iraq on Tuesday in an attempt to slow the insurgency fighting both the Syrian and Iraqi governments.

Officials said the strikes appeared to be the work of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, which is locked in a bloody civil war with opposition groups. The target of the attacks was the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has been fighting along with the rebels opposed to Assad and seeks to carve out a purist Islamic enclave across both sides of the Syria-Iraq border.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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