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Iraqi Provincial Officials Say Suicide Attack 'Isolated Case’

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi officials say a suicide attack that killed five people in former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit is an isolated incident that will not threaten security in Salaheddin Province, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

A suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives killed Lieutenant-Colonel Ahmad Subhi al-Fahal, who was the provincial commander of the antiterror squad, three of his bodyguards, and a civilian in the attack on December 3.

Salaheddin Governor Mutashar Hussein Elaiwi told RFI that "for six years, Ahmad Subhi al-Fahal had fought a relentless war against Al-Qaeda in particular."

Elaiwi underlined that the commander's death "is an isolated case that will not affect security...and is certainly no cause for concern."

Salaheddin Provincial Council member Abdullah Hussein Jabara told RFI that few attacks targeting security and government officials "or local notables are expected to be carried out by Al-Qaeda" because it "is no longer capable of staging widescale attacks in the province."

Jabara said Subhi al-Fahal had "repeatedly stated that he knew he was at the top of Al-Qaeda's hit list" and said that they "might succeed one day." But he said al-Fahal vowed to "never let those deviants hijack peace in our community."

Salaheddin police Colonel Hatam Thabit al-Tikriti told RFI that al-Fahal was visiting a friend at a jewelry shop in central Tikrit when the suicide bomber struck.

Nine civilians were also injured in the attack.