Baghdad: A roadside bomb hit a convoy carrying a member of Baghdad`s local government, killing him and wounding eight people on Monday, a spokesman for Baghdad`s Provincial Council said.
Insurgents have often targeted Iraqi politicians and government officials who have been bickering for months over the makeup of a new government and who should lead the country after parliamentary election in March produced no clear winner.
The Council`s spokesman, Mohammed Hashim, said the politician, Jassim al-Saiedi, was heading to work Monday morning when a bomb detonated in central Baghdad at 8:15 a.m. local time. Hashim said three of al-Saiedi`s guards and five bystanders were wounded in the attack which occurred in Baghdad`s al-Nahda area.
Al-Saiedi was the head of the Council`s committee that supervises public services in the Iraqi capital.
Police and hospital officials confirmed al-Saiedi`s death and the number of injured in the attack. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The attack occurred as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who narrowly lost the March 7 vote to a Sunni-backed Iraqiya block led by rival Ayad Allawi, was on a key visit to Iran to boost ties with the Shiite powerhouse as he struggles to win a second term in office.
Al-Maliki was greeted by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki after landing at the Tehran airport on Monday morning. He`s scheduled to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei later in the day.
The Iraqi leader`s bid to stay in office got a boost last month when he forged an alliance with anti-American and Iran-based Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
That all but sealed his hold on the job and set al-Maliki on a tour of Arab capitals to present himself as Iraq`s undisputed leader despite falling short of winning the March elections.
Sunni Arab states have supported al-Maliki`s rival, Allawi, because of his ties to Iraq`s Sunni minority and out of fear that al-Maliki`s Shiite-dominated government was too friendly with Iran.
On Sunday, al-Maliki was in Jordan where he met with King Abdullah II, one of the most vocal critics of the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.
Abdullah withheld public endorsement for the Iraqi leader`s bid, even though al-Maliki assured the monarch that none of Iraq`s major political constituencies will be excluded from a new government if Jordan and other Sunni Arab states back his second term.
Al-Maliki also plans to visit Turkey and Egypt later this week.