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Top Iraqi general killed in mortar attack

BAGHDAD — The general commanding the Iraqi army’s 6th Division was killed in a mortar attack Monday west of Baghdad, according to officers in the division and a counterterrorism official.

Brig. Gen. Najim Abdullah Ali was killed in or near the town of Garma, which is close to Fallujah, a city that has been held by Sunni militants for most of this year. In recent weeks, Iraqi troops bolstered by militia groups have been trying to reclaim the city.

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Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki offered his condolences after hearing of the general’s death.

According to initial reports, Ali was killed by sniper fire, but subsequent accounts said he had been killed by mortar fire. It was not clear if the militants knew that he was in the area.

A few hours after the attack, a suicide bomber assaulted the predominantly Shiite area north of the Kadhimiya neighborhood of Baghdad, killing four police officers and three civilians, and wounding 15 others.

The Iraqi parliament, which was scheduled to meet Tuesday to start the already delayed process of selecting a speaker, announced that the meeting was being postponed as the different political blocs tried to reach an agreement on the makeup of the new government.

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