The oldest member of the Iraqi parliament Shiite Dhari Ali al-Fayadh, 87, was killed Tuesday by a suicide car bomb near Baghdad as he, his son, and bodyguards were headed to a parliamentary session in the capital, reports AP.
Al-Fayadh’s son and two of the bodyguards were also killed, four more bodyguards wounded. They were traveling from their farm in Rashidiya, some 35 kilometers (20 miles) northeast of Baghdad, said legislator Hummam Hammoudi, who heads the parliamentary committee charged with drafting Iraq's new constitution.
Al-Fayadh was a member of the country's largest Shiite political party, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The party is the senior member in the ruling coalition of the new parliament that was installed about three months ago. Dhari Ali al-Fayadh as the oldest member of parliament had acted as speaker until one was elected.
SCIRI leader Abel-Aziz al-Hakim called the assassination " a cowardly act." Iraq's National Assembly also denounced the attack.
Al-Fayadh was also a senior sheik from the al-Boamer tribe in the Mahmoudiya area, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad and a hotbed of the Sunni-dominated insurgency. The attack appeared aimed at stoking tensions between minority Sunni Arabs and the country's Shiite majority.
Earlier U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said it may take as long as 12 years to defeat the insurgents. He said Iraq's security forces will have to finish the job because American and foreign troops will have left the country by then.
The acts of violence against U.S. forces as well as civilians have risen dramatically in the recent days. On Monday a U.S. military attack helicopter with two pilots aboard crashed in a field north of Baghdad, the pilots were reported to be killed. Also on Monday a roadside explosion killed two civilians in a separate attack in Baghdad. The attack followed three suicide bombers who struck a police headquarters, an army base and a hospital around Mosul on Sunday, killing 33 people, including 15 police officers, in a setback to efforts to rebuild the northern city's police force.