Three Iraqi candidates killed ahead of provincial poll

January 30th, 2009 - 12:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Jan 30 (Xinhua) Three Iraqi candidates have been killed in different cities ahead of the upcoming provincial election, police sources said.Omar Farouk al-Ani, a Sunni candidate of the Iraqi Islamic party which belongs to the Iraqi Accordance Front, was killed by unknown gunmen Thursday night in western Baghdad, a police source said.

Unknown gunmen Thursday evening shot dead al-Ani in front of his home in Amiriya, west of Baghdad, and ran away.

Hazim Salim Ahmed, another Sunni candidate belonging to the Iraqi national unity list, was also killed Thursday night in Mosul, northern Iraq.

In a third incident Thursday, yet another candidate Abbas Farhan al-Azawi, was killed in Diyala Province north of Baghdad, a police source said.

The candidate was kidnapped with two other people in the morning, and their bodies were found Thursday evening, police said.

The landmark provincial council elections are due to be held Jan 31 in 14 out of 18 Iraqi provinces. The elections is the first vote in the country since 2005. Some 15 million Iraqis are being called to the polls to elect officials for 440 seats.

Despite relative security gains during the past 18 months, a series of brutal killings against Iraqi candidates and civilians has taken place.

Iraqi authorities announced Tuesday strict security measures in which airports and provincial highways were closed and borders shut.

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