Iraqi deputy PM escapes attack

Two explosive devices targeted Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq’s convoy

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Two explosive devices have targeted Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq’s convoy, but the official escaped what appears to have been an assassination attempt, Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported.

Parliamentarian Talal al-Zawobaie, who accompanied Mutlaq while on a visit to villages in the Abu Graib area in Baghdad, was also unharmed.

Zawobaie told the Associated Press that the attackers were in military uniform and drove military vehicles.

They opened fire at their convoy, triggering a shootout with guards and soldiers protecting al-Mutlaq, he added.

Three of al-Mutlaq’s guards were wounded in the shootout. The attackers fled the scene.

The officials were inspecting flood damages after militants who control the nearby city of Fallujah shut off a water dam.

The attack was the latest incidence of violence in Iraq as the country heads toward crucial parliamentary elections on April 30.

The Sunni Mutlaq is currently campaigning to represent the Al-Arabiya Coalition in the parliamentary elections, of which his party, the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, is part.

The Al-Arabiya coalition was part of the secular yet Sunni backed Al-Iraqiya List, whose candidate Ayad Allawi won the 2010 election by one seat but did not take on the position of the country’s premiere.

Mutlaq is a fierce critic of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and had called him a “dictator” in previous statements.

(With the Associated Press)

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