CAIRO: Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit warned Thursday of the looming risk of an all-out civil war in Iraq, and urged its religious leaders gathered in Mecca to start mending fences. It is with the utmost concern that Egypt is witnessing the escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq and assassinations perpetrated on the basis of the ID card, the minister told reporters. Abul-Gheit warned against an all-out civil war involving all religious communities. Iraqi Sunni and Shiite religious leaders are gathering in the Saudi holy city of Mecca in a bid to stem the spiraling civil bloodshed gripping their country. Their talks will be held under the aegis of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Abul-Gheit said he hoped the meeting, which officially opens on Friday, would mark a step towards a return to peace and stability. Iraqi Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi on Wednesday denied his country was in the throes of civil war. I don t think that what is happening now in Iraq is civil war, he told reporters in Jordan.