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Iraqi PM accepts resignation of six cabinet ministers

Key ministers of oil and interior - who had announced his resignation previously - are among latest to step down
Abadi during a military parade in Baghdad on 14 July (AFP)

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has been trying for months to replace the current cabinet, on Tuesday accepted the resignations of six ministers.

Abadi issued orders accepting the resignations of the ministers of oil, transport, housing and construction, water resources and industry, as well as interior, which had been previously announced.

But replacing them will be a major challenge: Abadi struggled to win parliamentary approval for his choices for even relatively minor ministerial positions.

The oil and interior ministries are two of the most important in the country.

While parliament finally approved a few of Abadi's candidates in late April, a court scrapped the session, from which some politicians were barred from attending, two months later.

The premier called in February for the cabinet to include technocrats, but has faced major opposition from powerful political parties that rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds.

Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr later took up the call for a technocratic government, and has organised repeated demonstrations calling for reforms.

His supporters have broken into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone area, where the government is headquartered, on multiple occasions during Friday protests.

Sadr also this week called on his followers to attack US troops deployed to Iraq to help tackle Islamic State, saying “they are a target for us”.

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