Iraqi official assassinated south of Baghdad as Russia criticizes US, Iraqi council agreement
Gunmen assassinated a provincial top Iraqi official in the southern town of Diwaniyah, according to authorities Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Education Ministry in Baghdad said Hamud Kadhim, the ministry's director general in Diwaniyah province, an estimated 160 kilometers south of the capital, was shot to death by unknown assailants on Tuesday. An investigation into the incident was launched, the spokesman said.
Elsewhere, on Tuesday night, US forces again targeted an abandoned dye factory in southern Baghdad that was hit twice last week by artillery and air strikes. Aerial attacks were also reported on orchards and empty farmland surrounding the military base on Baghdad's western outskirts.
The military said the ongoing attacks were in the framework of Operation Iron Hammer, the new aggressive tactic of initiating attacks against Iraqi resistance fighters before they strike.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Moscow stepped up its criticism of a pact between US overseers in Iraq and the country's Interim Governing Council to transfer control of the country.
The agreement "was signed in a secretive atmosphere and actually without regard for the views of the international community, neighboring countries and the UN Security Council," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
"In our opinion, if effort is to be made to settle the problem of Iraq, this must be done collectively," Fedotov told the agency.
"This is the only way to make the settlement process legitimate both in internal terms and from the standpoint of international law," he said. "The very process of clearing and drafting this agreement was conducted in a kind of secret manner without consultations," he said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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