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Maliki lashes out at Sunni province seeking autonomy

Laith Hammoudi reports for McClatchy:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Saturday lashed out at politicians seeking regional status for the mostly Sunni Salahuddin province, charging that they were seeking a "safe house for Baathists," the banned party of the late dictator Saddam Hussein.

Al-Maliki spoke two days after the provincial council in Tikrit, Hussein's birthplace, voted 20-0, with eight members not present, to declare Salahuddin a region of Iraq. The province, north of Baghdad, would be only the second designated region in Iraq, after Kurdistan, but other Sunni provinces may follow suit.

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