BAGHDAD ø The U.S.-appointed Iraqi leadership has again come under direct
threat from insurgents.
On Monday, the president of Iraqi Governing Council was killed in a car
bombing near a U.S. checkpoint in central Baghdad. Izzadine Salim was
one of six Iraqis and the first IGC president killed in the suicide attack.
Salim was part of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in
Iraq, the leading Shi'ite opposition to the Saddam Hussein regime. He was
also known as Abdul Zahraa Othman, Middle East Newsline reported.
An unknown group, the Arab Resistance Movement, claimed responsibility
for the assassination. The group made the claim on a statement on the
Internet. U.S. military sources said the group could be linked to or
directed by Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi.
It was the second time an IGC member was killed by Iraqi insurgents
since the body was established in July 2003. On Sept. 20, 2003, Aquila Al
Hashimi, one of three women on the 25-member council, was killed in an
ambush near her home in Baghdad.
The IGC selected Ghazi Mashal Ajil Al Yawer to become president. Yawer,
a Sunni Muslim civil engineer from Mosul, had been scheduled to take over
the rotating presidency on June 1 from Salim.
U.S. military sources said the assassination appeared to be the work of
Saddam loyalists in cooperation with Ansar Al Islam, the Al Qaida-aligned
group believed to have been responsible for most of the suicide and car
bombings in Iraq. The sources said the two groups have succeeded in
infiltrating the security detail of the IGC in Baghdad and probably knew the
schedule of arriving Iraqi ministers.
Officials said the coalition plans to establish a protective service for
Iraqi leaders modeled after the U.S. Secret Service. They said the United
States has provided the tools for security for IGC members.
Coalition Provisional Authority senior adviser Dan Senor said the
coalition has provided funding, body armor, weapons, vehicles and training
for the personal protective details of IGC members. But he said that not all
protective details -- including that of Salim -- participated in the
Instead, Salim's security detail consisted mostly of cousins, nephews
and other family members. The coalition has offered a six-week training
program as well as a refresher course for security personnel. Officials said
that so far, about 200 security officials for the IGC have attended the
initial training, and about 40 have gone through the refresher training.
"Unfortunately, our records show that none of his [Salim's] personal
security detail members ever participated in any of
our training programs ø again, his choice," Senor said. "We make the
resources available, we make the training available, but it is up to the
individual general council members and the security details if they want to
The United States was scheduled to relay sovereignty to the IGC on June
30. Officials said the assassination of Salim would not delay the handover.
"This will strengthen our resolve to continue the political process,"
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said. "This will not derail the