Leading Sunni politician killed in Iraq


Baghdad: Harith al-Obeidi, the leader of Iraq’s largest coalition of Sunni political parties, was assassinated Friday, a party spokesman told the local media.

Support TwoCircles

Al-Obeidi, the leader of the Iraqi Accord Front, was at a mosque in the western Baghdad neighbourhood of Yarmuk for Friday prayers when a man fatally shot him with a pistol, party spokesman Salim al-Jaburi told Iraqi news agencies.

The television channel Al-Faiha said that one of his bodyguards also was killed in the attack.

Al-Obeidi was a leading parliamentarian from the Congress of the People of Iraq and had recently assumed leadership of the Iraqi National Accord Front, the leading Sunni coalition in parliament. Al-Obeidi assumed the post after the previous chairman, Ijad al-Sammarai, was elected speaker of parliament.

Earlier Friday, Iraqi policemen shot two armed men south of Baghdad, police in the central Iraqi city of Hilla said.

The men were caught planting explosives on a road in the Jaraf al-Sakhr district north of Hilla, the police said, without elaborating.

The city and its environs, which sit on the Euphrates River roughly 100 km south of Baghdad, remains the site of a simmering confrontation between Iraqi and US security forces and insurgents.

Last Saturday, residents said the US military shot and wounded a young girl after a bomb exploded near their convoy, according to media reports. The US military denied the incident.

On May 20, a gunman opened fire on a funeral, killing two mourners. The next day, four police officers were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded as their patrol passed by.