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Condition of Shot Iraqi Councilor Worsens

September 24, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ The health of Aquila al-Hashimi, one of three women on Iraq’s Governing Council, has taken a turn for the worse, four days after she was shot in a brazen daylight assassination attempt, sources told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The sources, who would not be named or identified in any way, said there was ``a serious deterioration″ in al-Hashimi’s condition. She is being treated at a U.S. military hospital in the compound at Saddam Hussein’s former Republican Palace in central Baghdad where the U.S.-led coalition had its headquarters.

The source said there were no plans to move her to a U.S. military hospital in Germany.

Al-Hashimi had been preparing to leave for this week’s U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York when she was gunned down by six men in a pickup truck as she drove in a two car convoy near her home in west Baghdad.

Current Governing Council President Ahmad Chalabi blamed Saddam Hussein loyalists for the Saturday shooting.

U.S.-led forces have been struggling to put down a guerrilla-style insurgency that has targeted Americans and their Iraqi allies. The police chief of the central town of Khaldiyah, who was working with U.S. forces, was assassinated by gunmen last week, and other attacks have killed police recruits trained by the Americans.

Last month, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, a top Shiite cleric who leads a movement with a seat on the Governing Council, was killed in a car bombing that left at least 85 people dead. Al-Hakim’s brother, Abdel-Aziz, is a council member.

The 25-member Governing Council was established by the U.S.-led coalition in mid-July to put an Iraqi face on the process of rebuilding the country.

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