Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday that four of his ministers are expected to lose their jobs in an imminent reshuffle of his embattled government.
Maliki, who was in the Shiite holy city of Najaf to meet Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, told reporters however that Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani was not one of those set to move, despite speculation in the media.
He did not reveal which ministries will be reshuffled as his fragile government of national unity battles to rein in the latest outbreak of violence that has killed more than 400 people around Iraq this week.
Last week, Maliki's spokesman Ali al-Dabaqh said that one of the ministers set to lose his job was Transport Minister Karim Mahdi Salem.
Last month, Hassan Sunaid, an MP from Maliki's Dawa party, said that rumours in parliament suggested one of the ministers charged with fighting Iraq's rising tide of sectarian violence could be shown the door.
Maliki finalised Iraq's first full-term cabinet since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein in early June, more than six months after parliamentary elections, and the key defence and interior ministries proved the hardest to fill.