At least 11 Iraqis killed in blast as Sadr bloc leaves coalition
A car bomb struck a bakery crowded with customers lining up for bread, killing at least 11 people on Saturday, officials said.
Meanwhile, the government suffered another blow when lawmakers loyal to the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced their withdrawal from the Shiite bloc in parliament. The move leaves the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki 30 seats short of a majority, although it could likely also count on support from independent Shiites who hold 30 seats and some minor parties.
"The Sadr bloc will hold a press conference in Najaf (Saturday) evening where it will anounce its decision to withdraw from the Shiite alliance," spokesman Saleh al-Obeidi told AFP from the movement's headquarters in the Shiite holy city of Najaf.
Sadr MP Gufran Saad said the movement was quitting the alliance because it was no longer being consulted about key decisions. "There are reasons for our withdrawal from the Shiite alliance. The alliance has been taking decisions single-handedly without reverting to the member blocs," Saad said.