Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

Iraqi prime minister 'blames security lapses on rivals'

Al-Maliki in Baghdad, 9 Dec (Govt handout)
Mr Maliki sacked the security chief on Wednesday

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has accused rivals of stoking a political row that he said has seen Iraq's security put at risk.

The appointment of a new intelligence chief had been blocked by opponents, lawmakers quoted Mr Maliki as saying.

The key security post needed to be filled without political wrangling, the prime minister reportedly said.

Five car bombs aimed at state-run institutions in Baghdad went off on Tuesday killing scores of people.

The remarks were relayed to reporters after the closed door-meeting on Thursday.

The position of Intelligence Chief has been vacant for several months after Maj Gen Abdullah Sherwani left the post in the aftermath of twin car bombings in August.

This security organisation is handicapped because there is no consensus
Nouri al-Maliki

The Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaeda affiliated group, has claimed responsibility for the attacks and another twin car bombing in October.

In total, the three attacks on government-run buildings in Baghdad have left at least 272 people dead, according to police sources.

On Wednesday Mr Maliki fired the Baghdad security chief over apparent lapses in security before five suicide bombs went off in quick succession on Tuesday.

"All of the recent crime is because of political and sectarian differences," Mr Maliki reportedly told the parliament.

"This security organisation is handicapped because there is no consensus," AFP news agency quoted Mr Maliki as saying.

His remarks were relayed to reporters by Shia lawmaker Samira al-Mussawi.

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