Iraq election candidates slain before local vote

April 14, 2013 17:51


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BAGHDAD - Two Iraqi Sunni Muslim candidates were killed less than a week before local elections that are considered a major test of the country's political stability after US troops left more than a year ago.

The election on Saturday to select provincial council members will measure Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's political muscle against Shi'ite and Sunni rivals before the parliamentary election in 2014.

Violence and suicide bombings have surged since the start of the year with a local al-Qaida wing promising a campaign to stoke sectarian confrontation among Shi'ites, Sunni Muslims and ethnic Kurds.

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