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Senior Iraq general gunned down in Baghdad

Gunmen shoot senior air force officer in Iraq in the latest of a series of assassinations targeting Iraqi officials across the war-torn country

AFP , Thursday 28 Apr 2011

Gunmen using silenced pistols shot dead a senior Iraqi general in Baghdad on Thursday, an official said, the latest in a spate of assassinations of top military and civilian officials.

The killing of Brigadier General Mohammed Alaa Jassim was the fourth of a senior Iraqi official in the past week, with at least three others having narrowly escaped death in that time.

Jassim, the deputy commander of the Iraqi air force's Al-Muthanna base in central Baghdad, was in his car on a busy thoroughfare in the Ghazaliyah neighbourhood in the capital's west when he was killed, an interior ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

His death is the latest in a series of targeted killings across Iraq.

On Wednesday, Iraq's top theatre and film official narrowly escaped assassination when a magnetic "sticky bomb" affixed to his car detonated shortly after he parked it. Shafiq al-Mehdi's two bodyguards were wounded.

A day earlier, the deputy police chief of Kirkuk province in north Iraq himself escaped an assassination attempt that involved four explosions which killed one other security force member and wounded 30 people.

And last week, a senior official in Iraq's foreign ministry, the head of Iraq's tax agency, and an army lieutenant colonel were killed by gunmen using silencers.

A police departmental chief was wounded in a separate incident involving the same weapon.

The Islamic State of Iraq, Al-Qaeda's front group in the country, posted a statement on the Internet jihadist forum Honein last week, claiming to have carried out 62 "operations" from the onset of March until 5 April.

Violence has dropped off dramatically in Iraq since its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common, especially in the capital. A total of 247 people died in violence in March, according to official figures.

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