Assassination try targeted 1 of 3 women in new Iraqi government

Monday, September 22, 2003

A member of the new Iraqi Governing Council was shot and seriously wounded in an assassination attempt in Baghdad. Aquila Hashemi was driving in her car on Saturday when she was shot by six gunmen who raced past in a pickup truck.

Ms. Hashemi is a Shi'ite and one of three women on the 25-member council, Middle East Newsline reported. Regarded as the chief candidate to become Iraq's foreign minister, Ms. Hashemi had been preparing to leave for the United National General Assembly meeting in New York on Tuesday.

"The members of the Governing Council and ministers will not be intimidated by the terrorists," Ahmad Chalabi, president of the Governing Council, said. "They will continue to do their patriotic duty to move Iraq towards freedom, democracy and sovereignty."

The Governing Council has blamed Saddam loyalists for the attack.

Officials said Ms. Hashemi was attacked by both a rocket-propelled grenade and automatic fire when she left her house in Baghdad. Three of the council member's bodyguards were injured.

Officials said Saddam loyalists, backed by Islamic insurgents, have targeted key members of the new Iraqi regime. Last week, the police chief of Khaldiya was assassinated by gunmen in the Sunni Triangle.

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