Baghdad: At least 13 killed as Shiite leader escapes assassination attempt

Published December 27th, 2004 - 04:35 GMT

A suicide bomber activated his car Monday at the entrance to the house of the leader of Iraq's biggest political party, killing at least 13 but leaving the cleric unharmed, his spokesman said.

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq was in his residence in Baghdad's Jadiriyah district when the explosion took place, said Haitham al-Husseini, according to the AP.

Police confirmed that at least 13 people were killed and more than 60 wounded. Hakim's offices had been badly damaged, with walls destroyed and windows blown out, AFP said.

Hakim also leads the candidate list of the 228-member United Iraqi Alliance coalition, which is projected to dominate Iraq's new constitutional assembly following the elections next month.

The residence, where Hakim has his home and offices, was previously the house of Tariq Aziz, the former foreign minister and close aide to Saddam Hussein.

In August 2003, a suicide bomber killed Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, elder brother of Abdul Aziz and former leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.


On his part, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi condemned the assassination attempt. "Such criminal acts are performed with the aim of eliminating the Iraqi effective leaders who have shouldered the responsibility of defending the Iraqi nation for over 20 years," Asefi said, adding that such acts are also aimed at creating insecurity in the Iraqi society and to prevent the scheduled elections in that country.

The Iraqi government is responsible for providing a secure atmosphere for all Iraqi citizens as well as all officials and respectful personalities, Asefi further noted.

In another incident, one US soldier was killed and another injured when their patrol hit a roadside bomb in the town of Samarra north of Baghdad on Sunday, the US military said on Monday.

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