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Iraq council head killed in car bombing
Updated: 2004-05-17 15:20

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.

A grab taken from recent file television footage shows Izzedin Salim, the head of the U.S.-picked Governing Council speaking at a press conference in Baghdad. [Reuters/File]
Abdul Zahra Othman Mohammad, a Shi'ite council member also known as Izzedin Salim, had been waiting at a checkpoint to enter the sprawling "Green Zone" compound in Baghdad when the bomb went off, Deputy Foreign Minister Hamed al-Bayati told Reuters.

"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.

U.S. troops and Iraqi policemen survey the site where a car bomb exploded at a checkpoint at the entrance of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) headquarters in Baghdad killing the current head of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, Izzedin Salim. [AFP]
U.S. officers said the explosion had been caused by a car bomb.

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."

Members of Iraq 's Governing Council pose for a picture July 13, 2003. Izzedin Salim, (3rd row R) current council president, said that the country's chief political players should remain in government after the June 30 handover of sovereignty. [AFP]
Salim, from Iraq's Shi'ite majority, was the head of the Islamic Dawa Party in Basra and the editor of several newspapers and magazines. He was one of the nine Council members who each hold the rotating presidency for a month at a time.

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.

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