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The political dispute appears far from being resolved.

On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq called for Iraq’s leader, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to step down or face a parliamentary vote of no-confidence. Al-Mutlaq’s Sunni-backed Iraqiya party has been boycotting parliament and cabinet meetings since last month to protest what it sees as efforts by al-Maliki to consolidate power, particularly over state security forces.

Al-Maliki’s government, meanwhile, has demanded the arrest of the country’s top Sunni politician, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi of Iraqiya, accusing him of running a hit squad targeting government officials. Al-Hashemi denies the allegations.

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Associated Press writers Bushra Juhi, Sameer N. Yacoub, Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Adam Schreck contributed reporting.