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Iraqi leader accuses Kurds of hosting militants

Iraqi men line up for physical examinations at the main army recruiting center to volunteer for military service in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, July 9, 2014, after authorities urged Iraqis to help battle insurgents. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim) -
Iraqi men line up for physical examinations at the main army recruiting center to volunteer for military service in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, July 9, 2014, after authorities urged Iraqis to help battle insurgents. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
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By Sinan Salaheddin And Qassim Abdul-Zahra, The Associated Press

BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister has accused the largely autonomous northern Kurdish region of being a haven for the Islamic extremists and other Sunni militants that have overrun much of the country over the past month.

Nouri al-Maliki's comments are likely to cause tensions to spike in the central government's already testy relationship with the Kurdish self-rule region. He did not elaborate on his allegations or provide any evidence to back them up.

The Kurdish security force known as the peshmerga has clashed repeatedly with the Sunni militants led by the Islamic State extremist group in recent weeks.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have fled to the Kurdish-controlled areas to escape the militant onslaught.

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