Iraq council head killed in car bombing
A suicide car bomb killed at least nine people outside the main coalition headquarters in Baghdad on Monday, including the head of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, officials said.
"Izzedin Salim was martyred," he said.
Bayati said Salim's car had been the last in a Governing Council convoy which included other council members.
"The other members escaped unharmed. They managed to get through the checkpoint before the explosion. Salim was still waiting to enter. It is too early to say whether the attack specifically targeted the Governing Council convoy," he said.
Salim, who had been the current holder of the rotating Governing Council presidency, was the second of the 25-member Council to be killed. In September gunmen assassinated Aqila al-Hashemi, one of the three women in the council.
The checkpoint had been crowded with civilian cars and minibuses. More than a dozen vehicles were destroyed by the blast, which melted the asphalt of the road and covered it in pools of blood.
Doctors wearing masks and rubber gloves pulled burnt bodies from twisted wrecks of minibuses.Shoes and body parts were hurled through the air. A scorched foot hung from barbed wire 30 metres away.
"There was a huge crowd at the checkpoint," said Raad Mukhlis, a security guard at a nearby residential compound.
"There were a lot of cars and people on foot standing there, and then this massive explosion. I saw body parts and martyrs everywhere."
On May 6, a suicide bomber killed five Iraqis and an American soldier at an entrance to the Green Zone, a sprawling compound which used to be one of Saddam Hussein's palace complexes and now serves as the headquarters for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.
A statement purporting to be from a group headed by leading al Qaeda figure Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for that attack.