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Unknown assailants gun down Iranian diplomat in Baghdad

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Baghdad, April 15, IRNA -- Khalil Nai`imi, cultural and press attache 
of the Iranian embassy here, was shot dead by unknown assailants in 
the Iraqi capital on Thursday. 
Witnesses said the assailants riddled the diplomat`s car with 
bullets just as he drove out of the mission. 
They said the armed men first opened fire at the car and then 
shot him, including twice in the head, before leaving the 
assassination scene. 
The diplomat`s body was transferred to coroner`s office in 
Baghdad after lying for two hours in the car, which was attacked on 
the street just across the Iranian embassy building. 
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the 
assassination yet. 
The incident came after an Iranian delegation arrived in Baghdad 
on Wednesday to find solutions to the critical situation of the 
war-torn country in the wake of a recent upsurge in violence and 
kidnapping of foreigners. 
The delegation is headed by Foreign Ministry director general for 
Persian Gulf affairs, Hossein Sadeqi, who was expected to meet with 
senior Iraqi religious authorities, members of the Governing Council 
and political leaders. 
The visit also comes amid fears of further bloodshed following US 
officials` declaration of Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr as an outlaw 
and vowing to either kill or capture him as well as crush his Mahdi 
The latest escalation of violence has marked a rise in clashes 
between the US-led occupation and Iraqi fighters as well as 
kidnapping of foreigners across the volatile country. 
Press on Thursday quoted Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini 
as saying that Tehran had taken action by sending a top delegation to 
Baghdad in order to solicit the release of the hostages. 
Three Italians are among at least 40 foreigners, who have been 
kidnapped over recent days by the insurgents, who have demanded 
occupying troops to pull out from Iraq or see the hostages executed. 
The abductors have already killed one Italian hostage and pledged 
to kill the rest unless the country withdraws its troops from Iraq. 

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