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Iraq Turmoil

Militants’ Deadly Land Grab Boosted Iraqi Unity, Maliki Says

BAGHDAD -- Iraq's prime minister said Wednesday that his government has regained the initiative after the "shock" defeat of its army and security forces in a lightning attack by Sunni militants in the country's north.

Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite who has been in office since 2006, said in a televised address that the loss last week of a large swath of territory has helped Iraq restore its national unity.

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"We were able to contain the strike and arrest deterioration. ... We have now started our counteroffensive, regaining the initiative and striking back," Maliki said.

- The Associated Press