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2 Sunni-backed coalition candidates shot in Iraq

BAGHDAD — Gunmen killed two candidates from the Sunni-backed coalition that won the most seats in Iraq's March parliamentary election, slayings that the alliance said Saturday were part of a politically motivated campaign of assassinations.

Neither candidate was expected to take a seat in the new parliament as both failed to win enough votes. But the killings were the third and fourth of candidates from the secular Iraqiya alliance in recent months, raising concerns about political intimidation of the top vote-getting bloc in the March 7 election.

In Mosul, Faris Jassim al-Jubouri's attackers came to his home in the middle of the night dressed in army uniforms, according to brother Marwan Jassim, a police officer who was at the house. He said they demanded details about al-Jubouri, found him sleeping on the roof, shot him three times, and fled. Police and morgue officials confirmed the killing.

In the town of Qaim in Anbar province, police said attackers planted a roadside bomb that killed hospital official Ehab al-Ani. The initial investigation indicated that al-Ani was not killed randomly, but specifically targeted because of his ties to Iraqiya, a police official said.

"The Iraqiya list does not want to escalate the situation, but we won't sit silent over the killing of any Iraqi," said spokeswoman Maysoun Damlouji. She said the killings are "targeting democracy and the political process."

Late Saturday, anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi, rival Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani to set aside personal differences and hammer out an agreement on a new government within the next week. Talabani faces a June 15 deadline to seat the newly elected parliament, but it could take months for lawmakers to agree on Iraq's next prime minister and Cabinet.

Deaths

As of Saturday, 4,400 U.S. troops have died in the Iraq war. Identifications as reported by the U.S. military and not previously published:

Army Maj. Ronald W. Culver Jr., 44, Shreveport, La., explosion May 24; Numaniyah.

2 Sunni-backed coalition candidates shot in Iraq 06/06/10 [Last modified: Sunday, June 6, 2010 12:21am]
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