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Iraq reports first suspected polio case since 2000

Iraq's health ministry said Wednesday it had found its first suspected polio case in 14 years, which could have originated in neighbouring Syria where confirmed cases have sparked a region-wide alert. The suspected case was found in a young boy in Bab al-Sham near Baghdad, ministry spokesman Ziad Tariq told AFP. He said the case was not yet confirmed and that samples had been sent to the United States for further testing, with results expected on Sunday. If confirmed, it would be Iraq's first case of polio since 2000.

Iraq reports first suspected polio case since 2000

Iraq's health ministry said Wednesday it had found its first suspected polio case in 14 years, which could have originated in neighbouring Syria where confirmed cases have sparked a region-wide alert. The suspected case was found in a young boy in Bab al-Sham near Baghdad, ministry spokesman Ziad Tariq told AFP. He said the case was not yet confirmed and that samples had been sent to the United States for further testing, with results expected on Sunday. If confirmed, it would be Iraq's first case of polio since 2000.

Saudi slams 'irresponsible' terror accusations by Iraq PM

Saudi Arabia slammed as "aggressive and irresponsible" on Monday accusations by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that the kingdom was supporting global terrorism. "The kingdom condemns the aggressive and irresponsible statements made by the Iraqi prime minister," an unidentified official told the state SPA news agency. In an interview aired on Saturday, Maliki charged that Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Qatar were supporting militant groups in Iraq and across the Middle East as well as terrorism worldwide. bur-ak/kir

Militants seize Iraq city council HQ, take hostages

Militants seized the city council headquarters in the Iraqi city of Samarra and took employees hostage on Tuesday, officials said, the second such attack in recent months. The attack illustrates the impunity with which militants in Iraq can strike even targets that should be highly secure. Two militants, possibly wearing explosives-rigged vests or belts, seized the Samarra city council building on Tuesday morning with an unknown number of employees inside, security officials said.

Militants seize Iraq city council HQ, take hostages

Militants seized the city council headquarters in the Iraqi city of Samarra and took employees hostage on Tuesday, officials said, the second such attack in recent months. The attack illustrates the impunity with which militants in Iraq can strike even targets that should be highly secure, as the country suffers its worst violence in years. Two militants, possibly wearing explosives-rigged vests or belts, seized the Samarra city council building on Tuesday morning with an unknown number of employees inside, security officials said.

Six members of security forces killed in Iraq

Attacks in predominantly Sunni Arab areas north and west of Baghdad on Sunday killed six people, all members of the security forces, the latest in a year-long surge in bloodshed. Less than two months before parliamentary elections, Iraq is mired in its worst violence since 2008, when it was emerging from a period of brutal sectarian bloodletting that killed tens of thousands of people.

China's foreign minister on rare visit to Iraq

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Iraq on Sunday in the first such visit since before the 2003 US-led invasion, the foreign ministry said. It is "the first visit to Baghdad by a high-ranking Chinese official since 2003," the ministry said in a statement on its website. Wang and senior officials will discuss "developing bilateral relations and regional and international issues", the statement said. Oil is likely to be on the agenda.

China's foreign minister on rare visit to Iraq

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Iraq on Sunday in the first such visit since before the 2003 US-led invasion, the foreign ministry said. It is "the first visit to Baghdad by a high-ranking Chinese official since 2003," the ministry said in a statement on its website. Wang and senior officials will discuss "developing bilateral relations and regional and international issues", the statement said. Oil is likely to be on the agenda.

Security forces in firing line as Iraq attacks kill 11

Attacks mainly targeting members of Iraq's security forces in areas north of Baghdad killed 11 people on Wednesday, officials said. Security forces, often plagued by shortcomings such as lack of discipline and training, are frequently targeted by militants, as the country suffers its worst violence in years. Gunmen attacked an army checkpoint in a village north of Baquba, killing three soldiers and wounding three more, while a bomb targeted a police major general's convoy near Tuz Khurmatu, killing two of his guards and wounding three.

More than 1,000 killed in Iraq in January

More than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq in January, official data showed on Friday, as security forces grapple with a surge in bloodshed and a standoff with militants. A total of 1,013 people -- 795 civilians, 122 soldiers and 96 policemen -- died as a result of violence, according to data compiled by the ministries of health, interior and defence. The figures also showed that 2,024 people were wounded: 1,633 civilians, 238 soldiers and 153 policemen. Security forces killed 189 militants and arrested 458 more.
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