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Iraq: Official disputes assassination allegation

Saturday - 4/12/2014, 1:50pm  ET

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The head of the military command in Iraq's western province of Anbar is disputing claims that the country's deputy prime minister faced an assassination attempt Friday.

A lawmaker accompanying Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq charged that a group of armed men in army uniforms opened fire at their convoy, triggering a firefight. Al-Mutlaq spokesman Sam Patten says witnesses and the deputy prime minister's bodyguards alleged that members of the Iraqi army's 9th Division opened fire first.

Anbar Military Command head Lt. Gen. Rasheed Fleih offered a different account Saturday. He says a dispute between al-Mutlaq's bodyguards and security forces assigned to protect the Ministry of Water Resources led to shots being fired.

He says al-Mutlaq's guards opened fire after an argument over whether he could travel further than initially arranged.

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