Sister of Iraq's Sunni VP is killed

A sister of Iraq's new Sunni Arab vice president was killed in a drive-by shooting in Baghdad on Thursday, police said. She died one day after her brother called for the Sunni-dominated insurgency to be crushed by force.

In southern Iraq, a bomb hit an Italian military convoy at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, killing four soldiers, three Italians and a Romanian, Italy's government said.

The explosion near an Italian military base was caused by a roadside bomb that hit the convoy in Nasiriyah, a heavily Shiite city 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Baghdad, said local Iraqi government spokesman Haidr Radhi. About 2,600 Italian troops are stationed in Nasiriyah, and 27 had been killed before Thursday's attack.

Romanian Cpl. Bogdan Hancu, 28, who died in the bombing, was the first Romanian soldier killed in combat in Iraq, Romania's government said. Romania has 860 troops in Iraq as part of the multinational force.

The violence came as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld were visiting Baghdad to meet with officials in the new Iraqi government.

Mayson Ahmed Bakir al-Hashimi, 60, whose brother, Tariq al-Hashimi, was appointed by parliament as vice president on Saturday, was killed by unidentified gunmen in a BMW sedan as she was leaving her home at 8 a.m. with her bodyguard in southwestern Baghdad, said police Capt. Jamel Hussein. The bodyguard, Saad Ali, also died in the shooting, Hussein said.

It was the second recent killing in Tariq al-Hashimi's immediate family. On April 13, his brother, Mahmoud al-Hashimi, was shot while driving in a mostly Shiite area of eastern Baghdad.

On Thursday, two of the vice president's brothers, one an army officer, raced to the scene to recover the body of their sister, Hussein said. She had worked on the government's audit commission and was married with two grown children, reports the AP.

I.L.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team