Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, center, attends the first session of parliament in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
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Iraq's premier insisted Friday he would "never give up" seeking a third term despite allegations at home and abroad of sectarianism and authoritarianism amid a sweeping jihadist-led offensive.At least 15 people were killed in a suicide attack on Iraqi forces south of Samarra, a mostly Sunni city that also houses one of the Shiite Islam's holiest shrines and is a main front line in the weeks-old crisis. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's remarks came after a farcical parliament session in which Iraq's various factions -- many of which strongly oppose him staying -- failed to unite and choose a speaker, sparking international criticism and from the country's top Shiite religious leader. Under a de facto agreement, the speaker is a Sunni Arab, the premier a Shiite Arab and the president a Kurd.Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on Friday criticised the failure to pick a speaker, with his spokesman calling it a "regrettable failure".
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