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Iraqi minister resigns after killing of protester

Published: Updated:

Iraq’s Agriculture Minister Ezzedine al-Dawleh stepped down on Friday in protest against the killing of a protester in the northern city of Mosul, Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

Dawleh is the second minister from the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc to quit the government this month.

“I stand in front of my people... in Nineveh and I announce that I resign from this government, because there is no way I can continue in a government that does not respond to the people's demands,” Dawleh, who was born in Nineveh province, told a televised news conference.

Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak told AFP that Dawleh had been considering the move for some time, but that a deadly shooting by security forces at a protest in north Iraq brought the issue to head.

A high-ranking official in the Nineveh governor's office told AFP that one protester was killed and five wounded on Friday, but said an investigation into who was responsible was still ongoing.

Activists meanwhile said that at least one demonstrator was killed when security forces fired on an anti-government protest.

Iraq's finance minister told a crowd of Sunni protesters he was quitting earlier this month.

Thousands of Sunnis took to the streets again in the cities of Mosul, Samarra, Kirkuk and in Anbar province on Friday.

Their demands range from scrapping anti-terrorism laws they say are unfairly used against them, to overthrowing Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and tearing up the country's constitution.

Sunni unrest is putting pressure on the country's precarious sectarian balance and fuelling concerns the civil war in neighboring Syria could re-ignite Iraq's own combustible Shi'ite-Sunni mix.