An unknown group of armed men drew up alongside Qassim Imhawi's car and opened fire as he was travelling from his home in a western district of the capital, the source said.


Imhawi was the director-general of the communications ministry and regarded as one of the minister's top aides.


Several senior officials in Iraq's ministries have been killed in the past several months, including a director-general in the finance ministry.


Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi warned his government earlier this week that violence was likely to increase in the run-up to the elections scheduled for 30 January.