Gunmen shot dead the sister of Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi in Baghdad on Thursday, Interior Ministry sources and two officials in his political party confirmed.
According to Reuters, these sources said Meysoun Ahmed Bakir Hashemi was killed in the Hay al- Ilaam section of Baghdad. Police Capt. Jamel Hussein said gunmen in a BMW sedan opened fire as she was leaving her home at 8 a.m. with her bodyguard. The bodyguard also died in the shooting, Hussein said, according to the AP.
The killing comes after one of his brothers was killed on April 13. Hashemi's Iraqi Islamic Party is the largest in the main Sunni political bloc.
Hashemi, a Sunni, was appointed on Saturday. Ziyad al-Ani, a senior official in the Iraqi Islamic Party, condemned the attackers.
"What astonished us is that they targeted a woman. This shows how wicked the attackers are," al-Ani told The Associated Press. He added the killings "by the enemies of Iraq" will fail in their goal of driving al-Hashimi and his party away from the country's new government.
Elsewhere, an explosion at a base in southern Iraq on Thursday killed two Italian soldiers and a Romanian, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The bombing targeted a four-vehicle convoy on its way to relieve troops at the local Iraqi police station in the city of Nasiriyah, the statement said. One of the vehicles was destroyed, killing the three troops and seriously wounding at least one more passenger.
The convoy was carrying an Italian Army officer, 15 troops with the Carabinieri paramilitary police and the Romanian, the Italian Defense Ministry statement said.
In another incident, one Iraqi soldier died during a firefight with gunmen in Ramadi. A roadside bomb in Baghdad hit an Iraqi army patrol, killing a soldier, police added.
The bodies of 16 Iraqis who had been kidnapped and tortured were found Thursday in Baghdad and other cities, police said.
Meanwhile, American forces backed by a helicopter and jets struck a suspected safe house of foreign fighters, killing 12 and a woman in a raid near the site where an American helicopter crashed, the U.S. military said Wednesday.
In Baghdad, a bomb ripped through a minibus carrying passengers to their Shiite neighborhood, killing four people, who were among at least 12 Iraqis killed in violence Wednesday. Police also found 11 bodies dumped in Baghdad and elsewhere.