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Top Iraqi Defense Ministry Official Shot Dead

19 July 2004 -- Iraq's Defense Ministry today said militants have shot and killed a senior ministry official.

Defense Ministry spokesman Radhi Badr said assailants killed Issam Jasim Qasim in a drive-by shooting near his home late yesterday. Qasim was one of some 20 director-generals appointed to the newly reestablished Defense Ministry. Badr said one of Qasim's bodyguards was also killed.

Earlier today, a fuel truck rigged with explosives blew up outside a police station in Baghdad, killing at least nine people.

The blast destroyed cars and buildings in the surrounding area. About 60 other people were wounded. It was the latest in a series of car-bomb attacks in recent weeks.

Insurgents throughout Iraq have been using car bombings and other weapons to target Iraq police, who insurgents say are collaborating with the United States.