The Al Jazeera English newsroom in Doha, Qatar.
Credit: Mohamed Nanabhay

Iraq has suspended the license of 10 satellite TV channels for promoting "sectarianism."

Al Jazeera and Sharqiya are two of the channels accused of "inciting violence." A ban has stopped their operations across Iraq.

"We took a decision to suspend the license of some satellite channels that adopted language encouraging violence and sectarianism," Mujahid Abu al-Hail, a top official in the Communications and Media Commission, told Agence France-Presse. "It means stopping their work in Iraq and their activities, so they cannot cover events in Iraq or move around."

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The decision comes are five days of unrest killed more than 215 people. Security forces and Sunni Arab anti-government protesters clashed in northern Iraq on Tuesday, starting off the deadly week. The fighting has raised fears that the country will return to sectarian conflict, which ran rampant across Iraq in the past and killed tens of thousands.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said the sectarian violence "came back to Iraq because it began in another place in this region," apparently referring to Syria.

Syria's civil war has killed more than 70,000 people, with mainly Sunni Muslim rebels fighting against the regime of President Bashar al Assad, a member of the Alawite offshoot of Shiite Islam.

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