BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Mohammed Sidiq Shanshal, the first information minister appointed after Iraq became a republic 32 years ago, has died, newspapers reported today. He was 80 years old.
The newspaper reports said Shanshal died Tuesday; one paper gave the cause of death as ″old age and poor health.″
Shanshal was a key civilian figure who helped the army topple the monarchy in a coup in July 1958. He was then leader of the Independence Party.
After the coup, Shanshal was appointed minister of information in the government the army formed under Gen. Abdul Karim Qassim.
He later broke with Qassim and resigned as minister of information over the general’s Arab policies and his relations with Egypt.
Shanshal, like many other pan-Arab politicians in Iraq at the time, favored close ties with Egypt. Shanshal refused to take part in subsequent governments. Information about his survivors and funeral plans was not available.