Underscoring the political tensions, Iraq's Cabinet also decided Tuesday to postpone upcoming elections in two provinces dominated by the country's minority Sunnis for up to six months.
The two provinces affected, Anbar and Ninevah, have been at the center of the nearly three-month-long protests against Iraq's Shiite-led government. Provincial elections were scheduled to go forward elsewhere on April 20.
The decision followed requests from the political blocs in the provinces, government spokesman Ali al-Moussawi said.
Associated Press writers Sameer N. Yacoub, Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Sinan Salaheddin contributed to this report.
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