Bremer Hails Slain Leader as 'Constant Source of Strength'
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 17, 2004 A suicide car bomb claimed the lives of the Iraqi Governing Council president and at least four other Iraqis outside the Coalition Provisional headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, today.
Ezzidin Salim is the highest-ranking Iraqi official to be assassinated since the country's liberation. Eight people six Iraqis and two U.S. soldiers were wounded in the attack, officials said.
Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, CPA administrator, called Salim's death "a shocking and tragic loss" and expressed condolences to the slain leader's family.
"The terrorists who are seeking to destroy Iraq have struck a cruel blow with this vile act today, but they will be defeated," Bremer said in a statement released by the coalition press office. "Ezzidin Salim's death will not have been in vain. The Iraqi people will ensure that his vision of a democratic, free and prosperous Iraq will become a reality."
Salim, Bremer noted, strove for the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime. "He returned to Iraq after its liberation and continued to serve his country, making an enormous contribution to the work of the governing council."
Bremer expressed his personal grief over the loss of a friend. "Mr. Salim's death will be felt keenly by all who knew him and all who serve the new Iraq. His humility, gentle manner and learning endeared him to all," he said. "He was a good friend whose wisdom and quiet faith were a constant source of strength to me. I will miss him."
According to the CPA Web site, Salim also was known as Abdul Zahra Othman Mohammed. He was head of the Islamic Dawah movement in Basra, and was a writer, thinker and political activist who was editor of numerous newspapers and magazines.
News reports say the council chose Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer to assume the council presidency, a position that has rotated among IGC members. Yawer, a Sunni Muslim civil engineer from Mosul, had been scheduled to succeed Salim on June 1, and to serve in that capacity until the June 30 turnover of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government.