At least 41 killed in third day of violence in Iraq

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At least 41 people died Thursday on the third straight day of pitched fighting between Iraqi security forces and Sunni Arabs, as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned the country was in crisis.

The national police battled back Sunni fighters in the northern city of Mosul, long a bastion of the insurgency, where individuals took up arms after security forces opened fire early Tuesday on an encampment of Sunni protesters in the city of Hawijah in northern Kirkuk province.

At least 31 Sunni gunmen were killed in Mosul on Thursday, said Mehdi Sabah Gharrawi, a national police commander. Ten police were also killed, military sources said.