BAGHDAD (Reuters) -
Iraq's defense minister warned on Saturday of a "civil war" that "will never end" and said he was ready to put tanks on the streets as sectarian violence flared despite a second day of curfew in Baghdad.
Extending a traffic ban in the capital to Monday after battles around Sunni mosques and a car bomb in a holy Shi'ite city, leaders scrambled to break a round of reprisals sparked by a suspected al Qaeda bombing of a Shi'ite shrine on Wednesday.
The gravest crisis since the U.S. invasion in 2003 threatens Washington's hopes of withdrawing its 136,000 troops from Iraq.
"If there is a civil war in this country it will never end," Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, a minority Sunni Muslim in the Shi'ite-led interim government, told a news conference.
"We are ready to fill the streets with armored vehicles."