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Gunmen assassinate Iraqi finance official

Associated Press / September 27, 2011

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BAGHDAD - Gunmen assassinated a senior finance ministry official and wounded a senior judge in Baghdad, while a roadside bomb in northern Iraq killed three people yesterday, officials said.

Mohammed Ali al-Safi , a senior finance ministry official, died last night hours after assailants opened fire on his car in western Baghdad, police and hospital officials said.

Additionally, officials said gunmen shot judge Munir Hadad in a hand during a drive-by shooting on a highway in central Baghdad in a failed assassination attempt. Hadad served as the spokesman for the Iraqi High Tribunal formed to prosecute former leader Saddam Hussein and his aides.

Separately, police Brigadier General Sarhat Qadir said a blast near the city of Kirkuk, some 180 miles north of Baghdad, struck a car carrying four people. One person was wounded in the explosion.

Kirkuk is on top of one of Iraq’s largest oil reserves and has long been a point of friction among Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmen, an ethnic group in the region, who are vying for control of the city and the land surrounding it.

Attacks on Iraqi forces and officials have stepped up in recent months as the US military prepares to withdraw from the country.

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