The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Shia leader escapes attack

Tehran, Nov. 22 (Reuters): A rocket attack failed to kill a leading member of Iraq’s US-appointed governing council, Shia leader Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim, in a Baghdad mosque yesterday, his son said today.

Mohsen Al-Hakim said the attackers fired a Russian-made rocket from gardens near the mosque but it failed to explode. The missile missed its target and wrecked a car parked a 100 metres away. No one was injured.

“It was a terrorist attack on his life by remains of Saddam’s regime and those who want instability in Iraq. They are pursuing the same goals as those who killed Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim,” Mohsen Al-Hakim said in Tehran.

The attack took place on the same day that guerrillas fired Russian-made Katyusha rockets from donkey carts at Iraq’s oil ministry and two Baghdad hotels used by Westerners.

Guerrillas have launched increasingly audacious attacks on US-led occupying troops, foreign organisations and Iraqis working with them. Many foreign organisations have quit, following suicide car bomb attacks.

Abdul Aziz warned earlier this month that Iraq was becoming a hotbed of terrorism that was spilling over into neighbouring countries like Saudi Arabia.

He succeeded his slain brother Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim as leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) — one of the main Shia groups in Iraq but which has been criticised by some for its readiness to work with the US-led administration.

Iran-backed SCIRI campaigned for years against Saddam Hussein's rule and its leaders returned from Iran in May after Saddam was toppled.

In August, Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim was killed along with 82 others in a devastating car-bomb blast outside the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf. An audio tape purportedly from Saddam denied he had any part in the bombing.

Akila al-Hashemi, a member of the Governing Council, was killed in September when gunmen fired on her car in a Baghdad suburb. Her assassination was blamed on followers of Saddam.

Email This Page