Iraqi PM Allawi survives fifth attempted assassination

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Dr. Iyad Allawi, outgoing Prime Minister of Iraq Source: US Govt domain PD photo

Outgoing Prime Minister Iyad Allawi of Iraq escaped an assassin's bomb around 11pm local time on Wednesday night. In an attack aimed at his convoy in a residential part of Baghdad, "[The suicide bomber] did not stop and blew himself up almost near the middle of the convoy," said Allawi spokesman Thaer al-Naqib.

The bomb was set off by the attacker from a pickup truck loaded with TNT and mortar rounds, after police opened fire at him. The resulting explosion killed two policemen and wounded at least one other, and was large enough to damage some nearby homes.

This news follows a different assassination attempt on April 12 last week against Iraq's Deputy Interior Minister Tariq al-Baldawi by gunmen in two cars who attacked his convoy; al-Baldawi escaped without harm in that attack.

In addition, three other car bombs are known to have been set off in the area of the Iraqi capital during the same day. Targets included a US military convoy, a police station, and a police patrol, resulting in the wounding of more than a dozen civilians and the deaths of two victims, including one child, according to sources reported by the Australian.

This is the fifth assassination attempt on Allawi himself. Previous attempts on Allawi have included a violent attack in 1978 by an axe-wielding intruder in his home believed to have been instigated by Saddam Hussein, which nearly severed Allawi's leg at the knee and also injured the arm of his wife, who was sleeping.

Allawi has received criticism from various groups in the past related to his activities on behalf of the American-appointed Interim Governing Council of Iraq.

Last year, militants under the leadership of alleged al-Qaida operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi offered $285,000 for the killing of Allawi, which may or may not be related to the most recent attack.

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