An Iraqi legislator was shot and killed by militants who stormed into her house in a middle class neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, underscoring fears that the political impasse has emboldened insurgents to step up deadly attacks in recent weeks, after a lull following the Jan. 30 elections.
Lamia Abed Khadouri al-Sakri, who was elected to the National Assembly on the ticket of Allawi's Iraqi List party, was shot and killed by militants in her house in Baghdad's Hay Aur neighborhood, police Capt. Ali al-Obeidi said.
She was the first member of the parliament elected on Jan. 30 to be slain by insurgents as they target senior lawmakers and Iraqi politicians in a bid to further destabilize reconstruction efforts in the country.
"We believe it is politically motivated. She was killed in her home," said Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie. The attack is being investigated and police are taking precautions to protect other legislators, he said.
Hours later, Iraq's prime minister-designate presented his proposal for a broad-based Cabinet that draws in the country's main ethnic and religious groups to the presidential council on Wednesday in a step toward ending a crippling political stalemate.
"The Iraqis will find that this government has religious, ethnic, political, and geographic variety, in addition to the participation of women," incoming Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told reporters on the steps of his office. "Now that the process has started, we will spare no effort to bring back a smile to children's faces."
In other developments:
In Baghdad Wednesday, unknown gunmen opened fire on the convoy of a senior Iraqi police officer, wounding him and killing two of his bodyguards, Iraqi police said. Brig. Gen. Jihad Luaibi, in charge of civil defense at the Interior Ministry, was on his way to work when the attack occurred in the Salam neighborhood, said a police officer who asked not to be named in fear of his safety.
A roadside bomb targeting a joint U.S.-Iraqi military patrol exploded Wednesday in Samarra, killing an Iraqi soldier and injuring three others, the Iraqi police said. There were no American casualties, the U.S. military said.
Shiite cleric Qassem Abdul Majid was gunned down by unknown militants in the holy city of Najaf, about 100 miles south of Baghdad, as he drove to work with his wife, police said.
In Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, about 80 miles north of Baghdad, U.S. soldiers detained four suspects for an attack on a coalition base, the U.S. military said in a statement Wednesday.
Iraqi militants threatening to kill three Romanian journalists and their Iraqi-American translator, who were abducted March 28 in Baghdad, extended their deadline for Romania to withdraw its 800 troops until Wednesday at 6 p.m. (10 a.m. EDT), Al-Jazeera television reported. The deadline passed without any word from the insurgents.
The station had broadcast a new video showing the three Romanians — Marie Jeanne Ion, Sorin Miscoci and Ovidiu Ohanesian — sitting in handcuffs with pistols pointed at their heads. Translator Mohammed Monaf was shown sitting alone, also with a pistol to his head. Miscoci and Monaf were wearing orange jumpsuits. Militants often have dressed their captives in such suits before killing them. Monaf pleaded to President Bush and the American people to save his life, the Al-Jazeera presenter said. The station did not say how it received the tape or when.