First Published: 2013-01-15

 

Deadly embrace: Suicide bomber kills Sunni Iraq MP, six others

 

Suicide bomber kills Sunni Iraqi MP, six others, wrapping his arms around lawmaker before blowing himself up.

 

Middle East Online

By Azhar Shallal - FALLUJAH (Iraq)

Latest victim of wave of assassinations in Iraq

A suicide bomber killed a Sunni Iraqi MP and six others Tuesday, wrapping his arms around the lawmaker before blowing himself up, officials said, amid a political crisis engulfing the country.

The killing of Ayfan Saadun al-Essawi comes just two days after Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi, a fellow Sunni and a member of the same tribe and political bloc, escaped an apparent assassination attempt as his convoy was passing near where Tuesday's attack took place.

It is likely to further enflame tensions with Iraq already grappling with a political crisis that has pitted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against Essawi's secular Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc.

Lawmaker Essawi, 37, had been inspecting a road under construction south of Fallujah at the time of the attack.

"The moment he stepped out of the car to check out this road between Fallujah and Amriyah, at this moment, there was a man," said Sohaib Haqi, the lawmaker's office chief. "He came to him, hugged him, said Allahu Akbar, and blew himself up."

Doctor Assem al-Hamdani at Fallujah hospital put the overall toll at seven dead -- Essawi, four of his bodyguards and two civilians -- and six wounded, including four of the lawmaker's guards.

Essawi was also a former leader of the Sahwa, a collection of Sunni tribal militias that turned against Al-Qaeda and sided with the US military from late 2006, helping turn the tide of Iraq's bloody insurgency.

He was himself inducted into parliament after another Sunni MP, Khaled al-Fahdawi, was killed in a suicide attack at the Umm al-Qura mosque in west Baghdad in August 2011.

Tuesday's blast comes amid a political crisis in Iraq.

Weeks of anti-government demonstrations in Sunni Arab majority areas, supported by Iraqiya and other groups, have hardened opposition against Maliki, a Shiite.

The premier is at loggerheads with Iraqiya, which remains a part of his national unity government, over its accusations of Maliki acting in an authoritarian and sectarian fashion in the run-up to key provincial polls.

Kurdish parties and powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose movement counts 40 members of parliament and five ministers among its ranks, have also publicly opposed Maliki.

The demonstrations in Sunni areas have decried alleged misuse of anti-terror laws to hold members of the minority community, and claim Sunnis are being targeted by the Shiite-led authorities.

In a bid to placate the rallies, a top Iraqi minister publicly apologised on Monday and said Baghdad had released 335 prisoners in the past week.

The crisis comes with barely three months to go before provincial elections, a key barometer of support for Maliki and his opponents ahead of a general election next year.

 

Yemen warring parties back to peace talks table

UN warns Eastern Aleppo may soon become besieged

Is Erdogan-Davutoglu tandem coming to an end?

US troops facing growing risks in Iraq, Syria

Cafes, restaurants spring up in Tripoli

London set to elect its first Muslim Mayor

Fierce fighting rages in Aleppo as diplomacy efforts intensify

Riyadh's $22.5 bn Metro project on track

Egypt court sentences prominent activist to six months in prison

UK to take in more Syria child refugees

France to host Saudi, Qatar, UAE, Turkey FMs for Syria talks

US expects more military resources for anti-ISIS fight

Standoff escalates between Egypt journalists and authorities

Turkey says ready to send ground troops to Syria 'if necessary'

Hamas accuses Fatah of organising military cell in Gaza

Egypt court acquits Mubarak's last PM

Israel to upgrade ties with NATO as Turkey lifts veto

Passengers injured as Etihad flight hits severe turbulence

Israeli tanks fire shots over Gaza border

5th edition of Middle East Homeland Security Summit to be held in Amman in November

Money and revenge push Syrians to jihadist ranks

EU conditionally backs visa-free travel for Turks, overhauls asylum system

Airstrikes resume in Damascus as fighting 'freeze' ends

Relief in Yemen's Mukalla after year of al-Qaeda rule

Saudi oil minister visits Sudan to cement improving ties

Warnings for Assad as Syria talks shift to Berlin

Fierce clashes rage in Syria’s Aleppo

OPCW warns ISIS may be making chemical weapons

French court says 'Carlos the Jackal' must face trial for 1974 attack

UN demands protection of hospitals in armed conflicts

Jewish settler who led burning alive of Palestinian teen receives life sentence

Italy ready to raise shipwreck off Libya coast

Heavy airstrikes kill dozens in ISIS Syria bastion

Deadly intra-rebel clashes rock eastern part of Syria capital

German 'jihadist' goes on trial for Syria war crimes

Number of people held in solitary confinement doubles in Israel

UN fears operation near Mosul will displace 30,000 more Iraqis

Turkey Nobel Laureate shows solidarity with veteran writer, Murat Belge

Russian FM hopes for Aleppo ceasefire in 'next few hours'

Israel Labour mulls break with British party over anti-Semitism claims

Saudi to ensure Binladin Group resolves wage issues

Tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims flock to Baghdad shrine

EU set to grant Turkey visa-free travel in migrant deal

Syria rebels strike hospital in regime-held Aleppo

US soldier feared killed in Iraq’s Kurdistan