Friday, March 23, 2007

Iraq's Sunni deputy PM hurt in bombing

12 minutes ago

Iraq's Sunni deputy prime minister was wounded Friday in a suicide bombing at a mosque in the courtyard of his home that killed six people, including one of his advisers, authorities said.

The bomber blew himself up as Salam al-Zubaie, one of two deputies to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and other worshippers were leaving the mosque near the heavily fortified Green Zone , according to police and a Sunni politician.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said al-Zubaie was in a hospital run by the U.S. in the Green Zone but would not comment on his condition.

Ziad al-Ani, a top official of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party, said al-Zubaie was slightly wounded in his leg.

Police said six people were killed, including an adviser, and 10 others were wounded, including five of al-Zubaie's bodyguards. The adviser, Mufeed Abdul-Zahra, was wounded in the attack and died later at the hospital.

Police said the attack occurred as worshippers were leaving, while al-Ani said the bomber blew himself up inside the mosque during the traditional weekly prayer service.

Baghdad authorities have imposed a weekly four-hour vehicle ban on Fridays to protect the services from suicide car bombers.

The mosque was built inside the courtyard of al-Zubaie's compound in a residential area behind the Foreign Ministry, but worshippers can access it from the street outside, al-Ani said. The compound is near the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. and British embassies and the Iraqi government headquarters.

Friday's bombing came a day after a rocket exploded 50 yards from the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a news conference in the Green Zone, causing him to cringe and duck just minutes after Iraq's prime minister said the visit showed the city was "on the road to stability."

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