Iraq: Sunni candidate shot dead while campaigning as country prepares for election
A prominent Sunni politician was killed while campaigning on Tuesday, just two days before the nation's parliamentary election, when Iraqis will vote for their first full-term parliament since the US-led invasion in 2003.
Mizhar Al Dulaimi, who led the Free Progressive Iraqi Party, appeared on Iraqi television the night before and urged Iraqi citizens to vote.
Dulaimi was shot to death in the town of Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar province in western Iraq that has seen significant violence in recent months.
Iraqi police reported that three of Dulami's bodyguards were also wounded in the attack, according to Reuters.
Most Iraqi Sunni Arabs boycotted the January 30 election for an interim assembly in protest of what they felt was bias against them by the nation's Shiite majority and US authorities.
On Monday, Al Qaeda and some resistance groups described the upcoming election as ungodly and satanic, stressing that they would continue their struggle for Iraq.
However, one group, the Islamic Army in Iraq, announced that despite its opposition to the elections, it would refrain from attacking polling stations on Thursday.
"According to our long-standing instructions not to launch random attacks that kill innocents and criminals, we order our fighters not to target voting areas to avoid bloodshed," is said, adding that "This does not mean that we back this so-called political process... Our jihad against the Americans and their followers continues."
The group has claimed several kidnappings in Iraq, and said last week that it had killed an American it was holding hostage.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)