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Exile Foe of Iraqi President Killed in Khartoum With AM-Gulf Rdp

January 18, 1988

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) _ Two gunmen killed a prominent Iraqi exile and wounded his nephew as they sat in the crowded lobby of the Khartoum Hilton Hotel, then fled in the chaos that followed, the interior minister said Monday.

The man slain Sunday night was identified by witnesses, hotel sources and by Iranian news media as Mahdi al-Hakim, a brother and chief aide of a leading Shiite Moslem foe of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency said the victim’s brother was Mohammed Baqer Hakim, a Shiite religious leader who heads the exile Iraqi dissident organization the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Interior Minister Sidahmed al-Hussein identified the nephew as Abdul-Wahab al-Hakim, secretary and manager for political and religious matters for his uncle.

Iran and Iraq have been at war since September 1980. Hussein is viewed by the Tehran government as its archenemy.

Uncle and nephew were in Khartoum for the second national congress of the National Islamic Front, Sudan’s version of the Moslem Brotherhood. Front sources said the two were not invited, because the Iraqi government was represented, but that the victims were attacked soon after they returned from a meeting with the Front’s leader, Hassan Abdallah Turabi.

Witnesses said the assassins got out of two cars outside the plush downtown hotel, burst into the lobby and fired three shots into the ceiling. As patrons hit the floor, the gunmen approached the victims and fired.

Mahdi al-Hakim was hit three times in the head and died instantly. His nephew was shot in the knee and was reported in good condition on Monday.

El-Raya, the newspaper of the National Islamic Front, said the getaway car bore diplomatic license plates. It did not say to which diplomatic mission the plates were issued.

In Tehran, Iranian news media quoted spokesmen of the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq as saying the plates were assigned to the Iraqi Embassy in Khartoum. The Iranians said the killers were Iraqi intelligence agents.

Minister al-Hussein said the slain man carried a passport from the United Arab Emirates in the name of Mahdi Mohsin Mahdi and also had a British passport.

He said: ″Sudan refuses to become an arena for the settling of scores among any external political factions, either directly or indirectly.″

It was the first known terror attack against foreigners in Khartoum since gunmen seriously wounded a U.S. Embassy employee on April 16, 1986.

Update hourly