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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iraq Picks Parliament Speaker

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraqi lawmakers elected Industry Minister Hajim al-Hassani, a Sunni Arab, as parliament speaker Sunday, ending days of deadlock and moving forward on forming a new government two months after the country's historic Jan. 30 elections. The newly elected National Assembly had bickered for days over who would take the speaker post.

"It's time for the patient, Iraqi people to be treated with the dignity that God has given them," al-Hassani said.

Former nuclear scientist Hussain al-Shahristani, a Shiite, and Kurdish official Aref Taifour were elected as al-Hassani's deputies.

Al-Hassani urged legislators to pledge their "allegiance to the country and the people, not to the party or the sect or the ethnicity."

Lawmakers had focused on picking a Sunni Arab as speaker in an effort to reach out to the minority dominant under ousted dictator Saddam Hussein. Sunni Arabs have a disproportionately small number of seats in parliament because many boycotted the election.

In western Baghdad, officials were investigating an attack by dozens of insurgents who blew up car bombs and fired rocket-propelled grenades late Saturday outside the Abu Ghraib prison. The 40-minute clash killed one insurgent and injured 44 U.S. forces and 13 prisoners, U.S. military officials said. They said many wounds were minor and treated at the scene.