Friday, January 28, 2005

Iraqi Candidate Killed on Videotape

Insurgents unleashed a string of fierce attacks across central and northern Iraq on Thursday that left nearly a dozen Iraqis and an American marine dead, while the militant group led by the country's most wanted guerrilla posted a video on the Internet showing the fatal shooting of a candidate from the prime minister's slate in Sunday's elections.

The killing of the candidate, Salem Jaafar al-Kanani, was one of the most direct strikes yet against Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's party. Mr. Kanani appears as No. 150 in a list of candidates led by Dr. Allawi, according to a Web site aimed at informing overseas Iraqi voters. Dr. Allawi's slate is expected to perform well on Sunday, when millions of Iraqis are to vote in the country's first multiparty elections in decades. But given the large number of competing slates, it was considered unlikely that Mr. Kanani would have ended up winning one of the new National Assembly's 275 seats.

The video of his killing, with at least three shots to the chest, was posted by the group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who vowed earlier this week to wage all-out war on the process of democracy.

The murder of Mr. Kanani and a spate of attacks on Thursday, which included suicide car bombings in the besieged cities of Samarra and Baquba, appeared intended to sow fear among Iraqis as they decide whether to vote on Sunday.

The videotape of the killing of Mr. Kanani began with several minutes showing his identification cards, including one from the Titan Systems Corporation, a company that provides interpreters to the American military. Another card showed his membership in the Iraqi National Accord, Dr. Allawi's party.

Mr. Kanani then spoke to the camera. "I advise all young men not to back the enemy occupiers and ask them to serve the people of their homeland," he said. "I was captured by the mujahedeen. They treated me very well."

The video then showed Mr. Kanani lying face-up on a floor as an insurgent fired three bullets into his chest.

Posted By: Redneck Texan