Monday, February 26, 2007

VP Abdel-Mahdi escapes assasination in bombing at government building

Iraq's President Talabani (a Kurd), Vice-President Abdel-Mahdi (a Shia), and Vice-President Hashemi (a Sunni). The posts are considered mostly ceremonial, but can wield a great deal of behind the scenes power. Talabani is currently in stable condition in a hospital after falling ill and flying to a hospital in Jordan on Sunday.

Iraq's Shia vice president narrowly escaped an assassination attempt today when a huge explosion ripped through a government building he was visiting in Baghdad.

Adel Abdel-Mahdi was taken to hospital after suffering minor wounds in the blast at the public works ministry. A second member of the Iraqi government, the public works minister Riyad Ghraib, also a Shia, is thought to have been seriously injured in the attack.

The vice-president had just arrived at the building when his party was forced to retreat as the explosions were detonated in a meeting hall inside.

Officials said he escaped with light wounds caused by shrapnel. Six people were killed and dozens more were injured.

The near miss for such a senior figure will cause further alarm about security for Iraq’s fledgling government as well as sparking concerns about infiltration of institutions by terrorists.

The cause of the blast was under investigation. But militants are increasingly using suicide vests to launch attacks due to tighter checks on roads aimed at reducing car bombs.

Read the rest at the Telegraph