Sunnis Working On Iraq Constitution Slain
Gunmen assassinated two Sunni Arabs involved in the drafting of Iraq’s constitution Tuesday, another blow to U.S. and Iraqi efforts to draw members of the disaffected community away from the insurgency and into the political process.
Mijbil Issa, a committee member, Dhamin Hussein al-Obeidi, an adviser to the group, and their bodyguard died in a hail of gunfire from two vehicles as they left a restaurant in Baghdad’s Karradah district, police said.
Issa, a prominent lawyer, was among 15 Sunni Arabs appointed last month to the 55-member constitutional committee made up mostly of Shiites and Kurds to give the Sunni minority a greater voice in building a new Iraq. Ten other Sunnis, including al-Obeidi, were named as advisers to the committee.
A suicide attacker wearing an explosives belt detonated himself outside an army recruiting center in Baghdad, killing at least 10 people, police and army officials said. Dr. Muhannad Jawad from Yarmouk Hospital said 21 people were also injured.
Insurgents had threatened Sunnis who help draft the constitution, and two committee members resigned earlier because they feared for their lives. Issa was the first to be assassinated.
Parliament speaker Hajim al-Hasani, among the highest-ranking Sunni Arabs in the Iraqi leadership, said the assassination was an attempt “to hinder the political and democratic process in Iraq.”
“We confirm our commitment and intention to confront brutal terrorism and build the bright future of our country,” al-Hasani said.
The attack came as the committee was meeting at Baghdad’s Convention Center in the Green Zone. The session was suspended when members learned of the killings.
Washington has urged the government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to give Sunnis a greater role in political life. Most Sunnis boycotted the Jan. 30 election, handing control of the new parliament to Shiites and Kurds.