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Iraq PM defiant after bloody week
by BBC (reposted)
Tuesday Feb 28th, 2006 10:45 PM
Iraqi PM Ibrahim Jaafari has vowed not to let sectarian violence derail work on a new government, after a week in which over 400 people died violently.
A government count of 379 dead and 458 wounded as of Tuesday afternoon was followed by news of at least 23 deaths in a blast at a Baghdad Shia mosque.

The count seems to be a response to US media reports of higher casualties.

The deaths follow a bomb attack on a Shia Muslim shrine in the city of Samarra last Wednesday.

US President George W Bush said Iraqis must choose either "chaos or unity".

'Inaccurate figures'

The week-long death count was released in what correspondents say is an unusual move for the Iraqi government.

It appears to have been a direct response to a figure of 1,300 dead published by the Washington Post newspaper - a figure Iraqi officials deny.

"What was reported in a foreign newspaper were inaccurate and exaggerated numbers of victims," a cabinet statement said.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says the latest attacks are an apparently co-ordinated onslaught aimed at killing and injuring as many people as possible.