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Iraqi Opposition: We Shot Minister

August 18, 1999

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ An Iraqi opposition group said today that its military wing has shot and wounded an Iraqi deputy prime minister in an assassination attempt.

Insurgents shot Mohammed Hamza al-Zubeidi on a highway outside Baghdad, a spokesman of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq said. The spokesman, Hamed al-Bayati, was speaking to The Associated Press in an interview from London.

``The regime’s apparatus rushed him to hospital. His fate is still unknown,″ the Iran-based opposition group said in a statement faxed to the AP in Cairo.

The report could not be independently confirmed. The Iraqi government hardly ever comments on such attacks.

Al-Zubeidi , 58, is a trusted aide of President Saddam Hussein and a former Iraqi prime minister. He serves on the Revolutionary Command Council _ Iraq’s top decision-making body _ and is the military governor of the Central Euphrates region, which covers the holy cities of Babylon, Karbala, Najaf, Qadissiya , and Methane.

Saddam chose al-Zubeidi, a Shiite Muslim, as his prime minister after the Iraqi army crushed an uprising by Shiites and Kurds following the 1991 Gulf War.

The appointment was seen as an attempt to please the Shiites, who form the majority of Iraq’s 22 million people. served as prime minister until 1993.

The Supreme Council’s military wing, called The Islamic Resistance, has claimed responsibility for several attacks inside Iraq.

In addition to reporting that it had attacked , the group said it killed a major in the elite Republican Guards in Baghdad on Monday. The group said its insurgents sprayed the car of Maj. Ahmed with bullets.

``This officer had a criminal role in oppressing, liquidating and harming the sons of the (Shiite) holy cities of Karla and during the Iraqi people uprising in 1991,″ the group’s fax said.

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