Two die as Sunni leaders claim election fraud in Iraq
Gunmen opened fire in the western part of Baghdad on Wednesday on the car of a senior official in Iraq's Ministry of Agriculture, killing his driver and wounding the minister.
Gunmen also opened fire on a car traveling to a US military base in the town of Baquba, north of Baghdad, killed one Iraqi man and wounding six, according to Reuters.
US military sources revealed that a roadside bomb which exploded on Monday killed an American soldier south of Baghdad.
Sunnis cry fraud
Iraq's Sunni Arab minority on Tuesday claimed that the country's elections last week had been rigged and demanded that its results be annulled. Sunni leader Saleh Al Mutlak called on the intervention of the United Nations, the European Union and the United States to aid in the matter.
"We demand that this election be annulled," he said, and warned of a possible civil war is Shiite parties gained power in Iraq's parliament, according to Reuters.
Hussein Hindawi, Iraq's Electoral Commission chief, dismissed the claims of fraud and calls for a repeat vote.
Sunni groups, which hoped to gain seats in the northern and western regions of Iraq, were shocked by their defeats in Baghdad. On Tuesday, results of provisional votes were revealed, showing the ruling Shiite Alliance with 58 percent in Baghdad, the largest of Iraq's 18 provinces. Many expect the Alliance to take 120 to 140 of the parliament's 275 seats.
An alliance led by former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, himself a Shiite, also denounced the count as a fraud, while calls were also heard from Sunni leaders of a possible boycott against the parliament if elected.
Many see the Sunni boycott of last January's vote for an interim assembly as depriving the group of much of its legitimacy.
In a move to appease Sunnis this week, the US military released several high-ranking Sunni figures under former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, including weapons scientists Rihab Taha and Huda Ammash.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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