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Violence rages in Iraq amid diplomatic efforts to restrict 'Islamic State'

A car bomb has killed seven people in Iraq. Dozens died over the weekend in sectarian violence. Meanwhile, Germany's Chancellor has ruled out sending combat troops to stem an advancing Islamist insurgency.

The Iraqi police said the car bomb exploded in the Shiite dominated Shuala district in northwestern Baghdad on Sunday.

On Saturday, bomb attacks in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk killed at least 30 people. The bombings came a day after a deadly explosion and subsequent shooting spree at a mosque northeast of Baghdad. At least 70 people were killed in the attack.

Iraq is facing one of its deepest political crises in a decade, as the Jihadist group Islamic State (IS) continues with advances in Syria and Iraq.

IS militants have also seized the Tabqa military airport in Syria's northern Raqa province, the UK-based monitoring group The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said on Sunday.

Regional efforts against the IS threat

On Sunday, Arab foreign ministers met in Saudi Arabia to discuss the rise of IS. The Saudi state news agency SPA said the closed-door talks took place in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, attended by the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, as well as an advisor to Jordan's foreign minister.

The ministers agreed on "the need to seriously work to deal with these crises and challenges to preserve security and stability in Arab countries," said the news agency.

Meanwhile, Iraq's prime minister-designate Haider al-Abadi held talks with visiting Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday to get the neighboring Shiite country's support against Sunni militants.

"Abadi pointed to the presence of many dangers posed in the region as a result of the existence of the terrorist gang Islamic State which requires regional and international efforts to exterminate this terrorist organization," his office said in a statement after the talks with Zarif.

Zarif said that Tehran had no intentions of sending its soldiers to Iraq.

"We do not believe that we need to be present inside Iraq to help our Iraqi brothers. They are very capable of doing that themselves," said the Iranian foreign minister in Baghdad.

No German ground troops in Iraq

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also ruled out sending troops to support the Iraqi forces. She dismissed the possibility of arming the Kurdish PKK separatists against IS.

Merkel said in an interview with ARD television on Sunday that Berlin "will not under any circumstances send combat troops to Iraq," and has no "concrete plans" to send troops in any other capacity, such as training of the Iraqi army.

German weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung had earlier reported that some lawmakers from Merkel's party were considering arming the PKK, which the EU classifies a terrorist outfit.

shs/glb (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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