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U.S. Officials in Iraq Condemn Assassination of Fallujah Councilman

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2007 – Yesterday’s assassination of Fallujah, Iraq, City Council Chairman Sheikh Sami Abdul-Amir al-Jumaili was a reprehensible and cowardly act, Multinational Force Iraq officials said in a statement today.

The councilman was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting outside his house in the city.

“This was an attack on democracy by individuals who oppose the concept of government that is representative of and responsible to the people of Iraq,” officials said in the statement. “Multinational Force Iraq sends its sincerest condolences to the loved ones and colleagues of Sheikh Sami al-Jumaili and the citizens he gallantly represented.”

The statement called the killing a “reprehensible act” aimed at destroying the Iraqi people’s chance at a better future. But, officials said, the attack resolves U.S. commitment to rebuilding Iraq and supporting its government.

“This cowardly act only strengthens our commitment to the people and government of Iraq as they continue to establish a free and democratic society,” officials stated.

According to news reports, the Fallujah City Council chairman was an outspoken critic of al Qaeda and the fourth council chief to be assassinated in just more than a year. Abdul-Amir's predecessor, Abbas Ali Hussein, was shot to death Feb. 2. Abdul-Amir’s assassination came only a month after the 65-year-old sheikh volunteered to take the job.

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