BAGHDAD -- Gunmen assassinated two Sunni Arabs involved in the drafting of Iraq's constitution yesterday, another blow to US and Iraqi efforts to draw members of the disaffected community away from the insurgency and into the political process.
Mijbil Issa, a committee member; Dhamin Hussein al-Obeidi, an adviser to the group; and their bodyguard died in a hail of gunfire from two vehicles as they left a restaurant in Baghdad's Karradah district, police said.
Issa, a prominent lawyer, was among 15 Sunni Arabs appointed last month to the 55-member constitutional committee -- made up mostly of Shi'ites and Kurds -- to give the Sunni minority a greater voice in building a new Iraq. Ten other Sunnis, including Obeidi, were named as advisers to the committee.
Insurgents had threatened Sunnis who help draft the constitution, and two committee members resigned earlier because they feared for their lives.
Issa was the first to be assassinated.
Parliament speaker Hajim al-Hasani, among the highest-ranking Sunni Arabs in the Iraqi leadership, said the assassination was an attempt ''to hinder the political and democratic process in Iraq."
''We confirm our commitment and intention to confront brutal terrorism and build the bright future of our country," Hasani said.