World Bulletin / News Desk
A roadside bomb hit Iraqi Finance Minister Rafaie al-Esawi's convoy west of Baghdad as he left a meeting on Sunday, wounding two of his guards, his office and security sources said.
It was not clear whether Esawi was the target of the bombing. The Sunni Muslim minister is caught up in a crisis that has triggered protests in Sunni regions and is straining Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's power-sharing government.
"A roadside bomb exploded near his convoy. His car was not hit and he is safe, but two guards were wounded," a spokesman for Esawi's office said.
Police sources confirmed the convoy had been hit by shrapnel, but said there had been no injuries.
Thousands of Sunni Muslims have taken to the streets over the last three weeks to demonstrate against Maliki's government.
The protests are stirring worries that Iraq could slide back into the sectarian confrontation of its recent past.
They erupted in late December after officials arrested members of Esawi's security team. Authorities denied that the case was political, but Sunni leaders rejected the arrests as part of a crackdown on their community.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah, whose country has tried to mediate in the dispute, said Saturday's meeting had led to limited progress.
Media reported that two police officers had suffered minor injuries in clashes with counter demonstators.
Both the state police and the Secret Service declined to specify the nature of the threat.
EU leaders asked the European Commission, the EU executive, to draw up proposals for new sanctions on Russia over its action in Ukraine within a week, though they did not say when they could be implemented.
Organizers on their Facebook page said the march on Saturday was held to protest police killings, brutality, profiling and cover-ups.
The handovers appeared to mark a slight easing in tension between the two countries after a sharp escalation late last week.
The move is likely to trigger mass protests in the city's Central business district by disappointed democracy activists.
The plan aims for the immediate allocation of about 1.5 billion shekels ($419 million) to the Defense Ministry for some of the costs of the war, it added.
Migrants have been streaming out of North Africa in rickety boats in rising numbers for years.
Maryam al-Khawaja is the daughter of Shi'ite Muslim activist Abdulhadi Abdulla Hubail al-Khawaja, who has been detained in the Sunni monarchy since 2011 and is on hunger strike.
Pro-Palestinian British MP George Galloway attacked in London street by man said to have been shouting about the Holocaust.
The U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji were detained by militants on Thursday, one of several groups attacked in the volatile frontier between Syria and Israel.
Australia will join Canada, Italy, France, Britain and the United States in providing arms and humanitarian relief as part of a multinational effort to be coordinated by Iraq and other countries in the region.
The activists asked Woolworths to remove Israeli products from its shelves and respect an International boycott of Israel.
Islamabad voiced concern over alleged Indian border violations on Pakistan.
Yemen's President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi said his government cannot conduct negotiations with foreigners who attended from countries, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, to fight in Yemen.