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Suicide bomber kills Iraqi lawmaker, police say

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
January 16, 2013 -- Updated 1832 GMT (0232 HKT)
An undated picture at an undisclosed location shows Iraqi lawmaker Ayfan Sadoon al-Essawi.
An undated picture at an undisclosed location shows Iraqi lawmaker Ayfan Sadoon al-Essawi.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Ayfan al-Essawi had escaped several previous attacks
  • Police say the suicide bomber disguised himself as a laborer
  • He hugged a lawmaker and then detonated himself, killing the official and two others
  • Falluja is west of Baghdad in Anbar province

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

(CNN) -- A suicide bomber hugged an Iraqi lawmaker and detonated an explosive vest, killing the official and two others, police said Tuesday.

Lawmaker Ayfan Sadoon al-Essawi was visiting a construction site on a commercial street in central Falluja on Tuesday when the bomber, disguised as a laborer, approached him, authorities said.

The bomber hugged al-Essawi and then set his bomb off, police said.

Four others were wounded in the blast, authorities said.

Al-Essawi was a member of the al-Iraqiya bloc, which is headed by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Return to Falluja

Al-Essawi used to be the leader of Falluja Awakening Council for several years and was also a tribal leader there.

Falluja is a predominately Sunni town about 35 miles west of Baghdad, in Anbar province.

The lawmaker had escaped a number of previous attacks. He was wanted by the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group of al Qaeda and other Sunni extremist groups.

The special representative for the U.N. secretary-general in Iraq called the attack a "heinous killing."

"I call again on all political forces to foil any attempt at instigating strife and to demonstrate utmost restraint," representative Martin Kobler said.

Separately, on Monday evening, Iraqi Finance Minister Rafie al-Essawi escaped an attack unharmed when a roadside bomb exploded near his convoy on the western outskirts of Baghdad, police officials there said.

Rafie al-Essawi is also member of the al-Iraqiya bloc and is not related to Ayfan al-Essawi.

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