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High School Final Exams Postponed in Iraq After Questions Are Leaked

Iraq's Education Ministry postponed the start of final exams for high school seniors after some of the questions were leaked to students, an official said Monday.

A week of final examinations was to start Tuesday with the Islamic Education test, but that was put off until July 1 while authorities investigate the reports of cheating, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

"It has been confirmed to us that the questions of the Islamic Education exam were stolen and leaked to the students," the official told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "We are investigating whether questions from the other exams have been leaked and if so we will delay them."

The official, who was familiar with the exams and the investigation, refused to elaborate on the evidence or provide other details.

Education Minister Khudayer al-Khuzaie confirmed that the Islamic Education exams had been postponed but declined to give the reasons. He said other tests would take place as scheduled, starting with Arabic on Thursday.

The final exams, which are used by Iraqi colleges and universities to determine which students to accept, are taking place against a backdrop of unrelenting sectarian violence in Baghdad despite a nearly 4-month-old U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown.

The questions are supposed to be kept under strict ministry supervision until they are distributed them to schools.