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Iraq's Sunni Deputy PM Wounded in Suicide Bombing


23 March 2007

A suicide bombing in Baghdad has wounded Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zubaie.

U.S. military spokesman Colonel Christopher Garver said Zubaie, who is a Sunni Arab, was taken to an American military hospital. Iraqi officials say Zubaie underwent surgery for shrapnel wounds. His condition is not clear.

At least six people were killed and several others wounded in the attack that took place in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

The bomber blew himself up as Zubaie and other worshippers left a mosque after noon prayers in his residential compound.

Zubaie is one of the most prominent members of Iraq's main Sunni political bloc - the Iraqi Islamic Party.

In other violence, a car bomb blast elsewhere in Baghdad's Habibiya district killed at least four people. The U.S. military also says two American servicemen died in combat in Baghdad and western al-Anbar province Thursday.

Also on Thursday, an explosion in Baghdad sent visiting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ducking for cover. The blast, which is believed to have been caused by a rocket, occurred while Mr. Ban was holding a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. No one was hurt.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council condemned the incident as an "abhorrent terrorist attack."

Moments before the blast, Mr. Ban said he will reconsider expanding the U.N. presence in Iraq once the security situation has visibly improved.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.



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