Baghdad's Governor shot dead

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The Independent Online

Gunmen today killed the governor of the Baghdad province, Ali al-Haidari, and six of his bodyguards.

Al-Haidari's three-vehicle convoy was passing through Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Hurriyah when gunmen opened fire, said the chief of his security detail, who asked only to be identified as Maj. Mazen.

"The governor was in his armored BMW and we were in two other cars," said Maj. Mazen, reached on al-Haidari's cell phone. "Our convoy was moving in Hurriyah and they came from different directions and opened fire at us."

Iraq's insurgents have repeatedly targeted government officials around the country, saying they are allies of the US-led coalition. Al-Haidari was the highest-ranking official killed since the former president of the now defunct Governing Council, Abdel-Zahraa Othman, better known as Izzadine Saleem, was assassinated in May.

Al-Haidari was the target of another assassination attempt last year that killed two of his bodyguards.