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Thread: Iraqi leader denies assassination attempt

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    Iraqi leader denies assassination attempt

    BAGHDAD, March 15 (UPI) -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appeared on television but did not address rumors he had been assassinated, speaking instead about overall violence in Iraq.

    The prime minister, awaiting the outcome of returns in his re-election bid, appeared on TV Sunday night, praising the work of Iraqi security forces during the elections, The New York Times reported Monday.

    "I do not believe that the killing and the bombs can bend the people from their path," Maliki said.

    The ballots from the March 7 election were still being counted with no public sighting of Maliki, providing grist for the conspiracy rumor mill, the newspaper said.

    A headline in the Saudi-financed daily newspaper Asharq al-Awsat read: "The reports of the prime minister's assassination are false." An article in the same newspaper quoted an anonymous "high-ranking Iraqi official" saying he would "not dismiss that Maliki survived an assassination attempt," the Times reported.

    Amid the rumors, Iraqi citizens say the longer the delay in determining the winner of the election, the higher the chance of eventual violence.

    "Every day we hear on television reports of fraud and negative things taking place," Souad Hussein, 45, a teacher in Diyala Province, north of Baghdad, said. "Regardless of whether they are true or false, the delay raises doubts.

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