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EU's Ashton urges Iraq leaders to halt sectarian attacks

I call on all political, religious and community leaders to increase their efforts to end this dangerous cycle, EU foreign affairs head says

AFP , Monday 12 Aug 2013
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EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton on Monday attacked a wave of sectarian violence in Iraq which she said is calculated to destabilise the country.

Angered by the "senseless" attacks claimed by an Al-Qaeda front group that killed 74 people during the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the European Union's top diplomat said the violence was "clearly intended to fuel sectarianism and undermine the stability of Iraq.

"I call on all political, religious and community leaders to increase their efforts to end this dangerous cycle."

Saturday's violence marked the deadliest Muslim holy month of Ramadan in years and was the latest in months of bloodshed that have sparked fears of a return to the all-out sectarian conflict in Iraq.

Al-Qaeda front group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed the attacks, which left hundreds more injured, in a statement posted on jihadist forums on Sunday.

Senior Iraqi figures including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki made no mention of the unrest over the weekend.

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