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.


Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

In world first, flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting