Three shootings killed four people across Iraq, police said Thursday, including one attack in the capital that left a young girl wounded and her parents dead. Negotiations between political leaders on the country’s draft constitution continued as a deadline loomed.
Insurgent attacks have continued as leaders from the country’s disparate groups have huddled for weeks in an attempt to write a new constitution that is supposed to be complete by Monday. U.S. and Iraqi officials hope political progress will deflate the insurgency that has launched waves of attacks on the new government and security forces.
In the attack that orphaned the 12-year old, police said gunmen killed the girl’s mother and father, a pharmacist, late Wednesday in west Baghdad. The girl was lightly injured and was picked up by relatives, said Dr. Muhannad Jawad of the Yarmouk Hospital.
In a western district of Baghdad, a police officer traveling to work Thursday was killed in a drive-by shooting. Police 1st Lt. Hamid Mahmoud was killed and a taxi driver injured in the attack, Jawad said.
Gunmen burst into the home of an intelligence official from the Defense Ministry and killed him Thursday in the southern city of Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, said police Capt. Mushtaq Kadhim. Lt. Col. Ibrahim Khalil was killed as he was preparing for work.
Factions debate government make-up
On Wednesday, gunmen kidnapped a senior Interior Ministry official in Baghdad. Police said Brig. Gen. Khudayer Abbas, chief of the administrative affairs office in the Interior Ministry, was dragged from his car and rushed away in another vehicle.
Political leaders continued intense negotiations to complete the country’s draft charter, which Iraq’s parliament is scheduled to approve by Monday. But major differences among ethnic and political factions threaten to delay completion of the document.
The major obstacle is the Kurdish demand that Iraq be transformed into a federal state. The Kurds have insisted on federalism to protect their self-rule in three northern provinces.
Sunni Arabs oppose federalism, fearing the Kurds want to break away from Iraq and declare independence. The Shiites are divided, with some factions wanting to build a Shiite federal region in the south.
In the holy city of Najaf, Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, met separately Wednesday with two key Shiite figures — Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim and radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. It was not known what was discussed, but al-Sistani has taken a keen interest in the new constitution.