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The Boston Globe

World

Shi’ite cleric visits Baghdad church targeted in ’10 attack

BAGHDAD — Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr reached out to Iraq’s religious minorities on Friday, visiting a Baghdad church desecrated in a deadly 2010 attack and a prominent Sunni mosque as public ­opposition spread against his rival, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The anti-US cleric’s stops at the holy sites — a rare public appearance outside predominantly Shi’ite parts of Iraq — came as tens of thousands of primarily Sunni protesters angry over perceived second-class treatment rallied to maintain pressure against Maliki’s Shi’ite-led government.

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