Iraq de-Baathification official gunned down

Ali al-Lami, executive director of the Justice and Accountability Commission, is shot dead in eastern Baghdad.

    Two gunmen have shot dead a senior Iraqi politician who was responsible for removing people affiliated with Saddam Hussein's banned Baath party, from positions of power.

    Iraq's security officials said two men used silenced weapons on Thursday to gun down Ali al-Lami in eastern Baghdad.

    Al-Lami was the executive director of the Justice and Accountability Commission (JAC). The JAC, more commonly known as the de-Baathification committee, was formed after the 2003 US-led invasion to ensure that Baath party loyalists of Saddam Hussein did not return to power in the new government.

    The committee vetted people who were running for political office or were applying for government jobs for possible Baathist ties.

    "He was killed ... he was alone with his driver without any security," Major Generall Qassim al-Moussawi, Baghdad security operations spokesman, said on Thursday.

    Thursday's shooting is the latest in Iraq's wave of targeted killings against politicians and officials.

    Violence in Iraq has eased since the height of sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007 between Sunni and Shia militias, but bombings and attacks continue daily. Local government officials, police and army officers are now frequent targets of assassination.

    Lami, a Shia Muslim, banned Baathist candidates from running in elections last March, and risked fuelling sectarian tensions in the already tumultous country after angering minority Sunnis who felt they were being unfairly treated by having some of their politicians disqualified.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki formed a multi-sectarian coalition government in December after nine months of political wrangling after the inconclusive March election results.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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