– SENIOR IRAQI MP MURDERED IN BAGHDAD
The head of the Iraqi parliament’s biggest Sunni Muslim bloc, known as the Accordance Front, Harith Al-Ubaidi was killed at a Baghdad Mosque, on Friday 06/12/2009, officials said, an assassination which could undermine efforts for sectarian reconciliation in Iraq.
The killing coincided with coalition negotiations by parties before parliamentary polls due in 01/2009, seen as a key test of whether Iraq’s Sunnis, Shi’ites and ethnic Kurds can live at peace after years of bloodshed since the 2003 USA invasion.
Harith Al-Ubaidi, a member of the parliament’s human rights committee, was leaving a Mosque in west Baghdad after Friday prayers when he was killed.
“He was at a mosque. An armed man shot him with a pistol, then threw a grenade at him inside the Al-Shawaf Mosque,” said Saleem al-Jubouri, a spokesman for the Accordance Front. Six people were killed, including the attacker, after the assassin opened fire randomly on worshippers before detonating a grenade. They said the attacker, aged from 15 to 18 years old, shot Harith Al-Ubaidi twice in the head.
A witness said the attacker was a suicide bomber, who ran up to Harith Al-Ubaidi and hugged him before detonating one or more grenades.
“Assassinations of political leaders have a huge effect on national peace, and these acts are meant to stoke renewed sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites, and also within feuding factions among the Sunnis,” said Hazim al-Nuaimi, a political analyst at Baghdad University.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned on Thursday of the likelihood of increasing violence before next year’s election. The withdrawal by USA combat troops from urban centers by the end of the month is another flashpoint for increasing attacks (see – IRAQ-US DEAL ).
* Iraqi police arrested, on Wednesday 06/18/2009, in Ghazaliya neighborhood of Baghdad Ahmed Abed Oweiyed, described as depute Al Qaeda military wing in Iraq. Ahmed Abed Oweiyed was arrested along with few other fellow suspects.