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Sep 14, 1:37 PM EDT

The Latest: US envoy calls for Kurds to halt referendum

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BAGHDAD (AP) -- The Latest on developments in Iraq (all times local):

8 p.m.

A top U.S. diplomat is calling on Kurdish leaders in Iraq to halt its contentious independence referendum in favor of an alternative.

Brett McGurk, U.S. special presidential envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, said at a news conference in Irbil, Iraq on Thursday that Brussels, Washington, Paris, London and Baghdad had cooperatively developed an alternative plan to the contentious referendum.

While providing no details on the alternative, he said he has presented it to Kurdish leaders.

McGurk says: "There's an alternative on the table. It's decision time."

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4:25 p.m.

The governor of Iraq's southern Thi Qar province has raised the death toll from an attack on a checkpoint and nearby restaurant to 45.

Yahya al-Nassiri says Thursday's attack, which also left 83 wounded, started with militants opening fire at the checkpoint and the restaurant on the main highway that links Baghdad with the southern provinces. That was followed by two suicide bombers, including one driving an explosives-laden car, he said.

Al-Nassiri says the majority of the dead are expected to be Iranian pilgrims who were inside the restaurant.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The Islamic State group often claims responsibility for large-scale attacks targeting security forces and Shiite civilians in Iraq.

Shiite Muslim-dominated Thi Qar is located about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad.

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3:45 p.m.

The governor of Iraq's southern Thi Qar province says militants have attacked a checkpoint and nearby restaurant, killing at least 10 people and wounding 29.

Yahya al-Nassiri says Thursday's attack started with militants opening fire at the checkpoint and the restaurant on the main highway that links Baghdad with the southern provinces. That was followed by two suicide bombers, including one driving an explosives-laden car, he said.

Al-Nassiri says the dead included Iranian pilgrims and a policeman.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The Islamic State group often claims responsibility for large-scale attacks targeting security forces and Shiite civilians in Iraq.

Shiite Muslim-dominate Thi Qar is located about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad.

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2:26 p.m.

An Iraqi lawmaker says parliament has dismissed the Kurdish governor of Iraq's ethnically-mixed Kirkuk province upon a request from the prime minister.

Hussein al-Maliki says that all Kurdish lawmakers boycotted Thursday's session, while Arab lawmakers voted in favor. A breakdown for the vote was not immediately available.

Al-Maliki did not say why the governor was fired, but the move came after Kirkuk's provincial council voted to take part in a referendum on Kurdish independence slated for later this month.

The Kurds took control of the oil-rich province, which also contains large Arab, Turkmen and Christian communities, when the Islamic State group swept across Iraq in the summer of 2014 and the Iraqi military crumbled.

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