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Gunmen Kill Another Iraqi Government Official in Baghdad
Alisha Ryu
VOA, Baghdad
13 Jun 2004, 13:25 UTC

A senior official in Iraq's Education Ministry has been fatally shot by gunmen outside his home in Baghdad. It is the second assassination of an Iraqi interim government official in as many days.

Just hours after the attack on Kamal al-Jurah, hundreds of his grief-stricken relatives and colleagues gathered at the Ministry of Education building, where Mr. Jurah's body was being prepared to be carried to the burial site in a flag-draped wooden coffin.

Mr. Jurah was the ministry's director-general for cultural relations, with more than 40 years of experience in education.

Chanting a traditional Muslim prayer, the mourners followed the coffin for several kilometers through the streets of the capital.

Mr. Jurah's brother, Muayad al-Jurah, witnessed the attack in front of their home in northwest Baghdad. He says as many as eight men, wearing dark masks, opened fire on his brother as he left the house. Kamal al-Jurah later died of his wounds at a local hospital.

Muayad al-Jurah says he has no idea who killed his brother. He says Kamal was a kind man who never hurt anyone.

Saturday, gunmen killed Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Bassam Salih Kubba in a drive-by shooting north of Baghdad. Mr. Kubba, an Iraqi diplomat with 30 years' experience, was the first government figure to be assassinated since the U.N.-sponsored interim leadership was formed June first, but several members of the previous U.S.-appointed interim council were killed during the past year.

Many Iraqis, like Jumeina Abdullah, expressed deep dismay about the violence that has killed two respected officials of a government that will not officially take power for another two weeks.

Ms. Abdullah, who works at the Education Ministry, says whoever is responsible for these acts does not want Iraq to be peaceful and prosperous. She says gunmen appear to be targeting Iraqis, who are only trying to help rebuild the country.

Meanwhile, a suicide attacker blew up a car bomb near a U.S. military base in Baghdad, killing at least 12 Iraqis, including four policemen. A police captain on the scene told The Associated Press news agency, the attack was part of the last gasp of the terrorists.

Meanwhile, police in the northern oil city of Kirkuk say a prominent Kurdish clergyman was gunned down late Saturday

U.S. and Iraqi officials have warned of increased attacks, predicting that insurgents would be seeking to undermine public confidence in the new government before it takes power July 1. f