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.


Corbyn criticised over Syria air strike rejection

Turkey protests against journalist arrests

Turkey seeks to ease tensions with Moscow

Tunisia to rethink anti-IS strategy

Saudi women begin first-ever election campaign

Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey

Cameron pushes for Britain to join Syria air strikes

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Tunisia under state of emergency

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning

UAE blames Islamists for delay in military operation in Taez

Egypt kills 5 Sudanese migrants near border with Israel

Anti-Muslim hate crimes rise 300 percent in Britain

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear cooperation with Iran

Gulf leaders to hold annual summit on December 10

Ex-Gathafi Minister arrested over murder of UK policewoman

UK boosts military spending as pressure grows to join anti-ISIS strikes

Israel bars Palestinians from West Bank settlement bloc

Iraq suspends northern flights due to danger posed by Russia missiles

Syria army advances against ISIS in central province of Homs

Pro-Kurdish leader escapes assassination attempt in Turkey

Tunisia group claims beheading of young shepherd on behalf of ISIS

Kerry arrives in Abu Dhabi for Syria discussions

Three Palestinians killed as fresh violence hits West Bank

Iran arrests ISIS-linked cell near Iraq border

Brussels remains on high alert for second day in a row

Israel seeks to strip citizenship of those who join ISIS

France warns Libya as ISIS gains ground

Fear escalates as ISIS edges closer to Syria Christian town

Iran sentences reporter Jason Rezaian to prison