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Iraqi ministry official, local leader killed in separate attacks

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
February 11, 2012 -- Updated 2354 GMT (0754 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An Iraqi interior ministry official is shot dead while driving in Baghdad, police say
  • The head of a local Awakening Council dies, with three others, in a bombing
  • One dies in Falluja after a sticky bomb attached to a car explodes, say police

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- An Iraqi interior ministry official was assassinated while driving in Baghdad, one of several deadly attacks Saturday reported by police.

Gunmen fatally shot Haider Shamkhi, the government official, while he was in his car on Mohammed al-Qassim highway in Iraq's capital, police officials told CNN.

In addition, four people -- among them the leader of a local Awakening Council -- died after their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb around 9 p.m. Saturday (1 p.m. ET) in Amiriyat al-Falluja, said police officials about 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of the city of Falluja.

Sheikh Najim Abed Hafidh headed up an Awakening Council in the town of al-Hiramat, which is near Falluja, police said.

Such councils, also known as the Sons of Iraq, mainly consist of Sunni Arab fighters who turned against al Qaeda in late 2006. The U.S.-backed movement is credited as among the main factors that contributed to a drop in violence.

Council members have been frequent targets for jihadists.

The three others killed in that attack included a child and a woman, according to police.

In central Falluja, meanwhile, one person died and another was critically wounded after a sticky bomb attached to a civilian car exploded Saturday evening, said police officials in that city, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad.

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