BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's most senior Shiite spiritual leader called Friday for a road map out of the impasse, saying the country's political class has a "unique opportunity" to meet the demands of protesters who have taken to the streets for weeks, demanding change — only to have their rallies met with a deadly crackdown.

In the latest violence, masked men attacked anti-government protesters in the southern city of Basra late on Thursday, killing five people, Iraqi state TV and medical officials said.

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