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.

 

Jordan ready to do ‘everything’ to save life of IS-held pilot

Egypt orders deportation of Australian reporter Peter Greste

Huthis set three-day deadline to resolve Yemen crisis

Mosques in Britain open doors to public in reassurance gesture

Saudi Prince Alwaleed launches pan-Arab news channel

‘Islamic State’ beheads of Iraq security personnel in latest atrocity

Saudi Arabia frees woman activist close to blogger Raef Badawi

Deadly blast targets Shiite pilgrims in central Damascus

UN says violence in Iraq killed at least 1,375 people in January

Stateless activist gets five years in jail for insulting Kuwait emir

Gunfire wounds two Americans in eastern Saudi Arabia

Japan condemns 'despicable' beheading of second hostage

Who plotted assassination of Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh?

Bahrain revokes citizenship of 72 unrest convicts

Wary of Internet, jihadists change communication strategy

Egypt blacklists Hamas armed wing as ‘terrorist organization’

Concern rises in Japan as hostage negotiations hit 'deadlock'

Party of Yemen ex-president breaks boycott to join Huthi meeting

UN chief backs African force to fight Boko Haram

AU: Ignoring South Sudan findings will help the guilty

Hezbollah warns it does not fear new war with Israel

Saudi blogger’s flogging postponed for third week

Iran seeks good relations with Saudi Arabia

Jordan still kept in the dark over pilot fate

Syria’s Qaeda fights Western-backed rebels

Abbas to visit Stockholm after Palestine recognised

UN chief to African leaders: do not 'cling to power'

Israel to go ahead with 430 new West Bank settler homes

Libya rivals to join peace talks if held on home soil

New Saudi king announces sweeping cabinet shake-up

Deadly Sinai attacks force Sisi to cut short overseas trip

Israel reduces energy supplies to Palestinians

Syria opposition embassy in Qatar renews passports

Hezbollah sends message to Israel ‘conflict is over’

Women protest against Egypt police after fatal shooting

Libyan airline suspends flights

Iraq government vows to investigate Diyala massacre

MSF withdraws help from two Sudan states

Jordan wants to see proof pilot alive before exchange

US says thousands of Somali children facing starvation

Kuwait online activists arrested 'over Saudi criticism'

British mosques open doors to reach out to citizens

Iran, Europe officials to meet Thursday in Istanbul

IS issues new deadline to kill Jordanian pilot if demand not met

Netanyahu warns Hezbollah will pay 'full price'