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Baghdad Governor Assassinated

4 January 2005 -- Baghdad Governor Ali al-Haydari has been assassinated by gunmen in the Iraqi capital, according to police and hospital sources.

Al-Haydari was shot during an ambush on his car in the capital today, and at least one of his bodyguards was also killed. In Bangkok, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the United States will not be deterred by murderers and terrorists.

"It once again shows that there are these murderers and terrorists, former regime elements in Iraq that don't want to see an election," Powell said. "They don't want to see the people of Iraq choose their own leadership, they want to go back to the past, they want to go back to the tyranny of the Saddam Hussein regime, and that's not going to happen."

Al-Haydari is the most senior Iraqi official to be assassinated since the head of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council was killed by a suicide bomb last May.

Al-Haydari escaped an assassination attempt in the capital on 7 September 2004, when a roadside bomb detonated as his car approached it. One bystander was reportedly killed in the earlier attack.

Green Zone Attacks

Meanwhile, police in Iraq say a suicide car bomb on a security checkpoint in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone today killed at least six people and injured some 40 others.

The blast comes one day after at least 20 people were killed in insurgent attacks in Iraq.

In Baghdad alone, there were three explosions yesterday, including a suicide car bombing near the party offices of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Iraqi and U.S. officials have warned of an increase in violence during the run-up to elections planned for 30 January.

Yesterday, Iraqi intelligence chief General Muhammad Abdullah Shahwani said there are now more insurgents in Iraq than U.S. soldiers. There are 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

(compiled from wire reports)

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