Oldest Iraqi MP killed

2005-06-28 09:26

Baghdad - The oldest member of the Iraqi parliament - Dhari al-Fayadh, 87 - was killed with his son and three bodyguards in a suicide bombing in north Baghdad on Tuesday, an interior ministry source said.

"A vehicle packed with explosives and driven by a suicide bomber was detonated alongside his two-car convoy in the Rashidyah neighbourhood," the source said.

Fayadh, chief of the Albuamer, a powerful and predominantly Shiite tribe, had presided over the first sessions of Iraq's new parliament before a speaker was elected.

He was also a prominent landowner in the countryside in Diyala province just north of the capital.

Fayad won a seat in the national assembly after running as an independent for the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, which swept the landmark elections on January 30.

Following Iraqi tradition, Fayad was named acting speaker for the inaugural session on March 16 as the eldest member of the 275-member assembly.

The octogenarian sheikh was enjoying a comeback in politics after losing his parliamentary seat in 1958 when the so-called Free Officers led by Abdul Karim Qasim overthrew the British-backed monarchy.

He was thrown in jail for about a year in 1969 after the Baathists seized power and then withdrew to his rural fiefdom where he kept a low profile until Saddam Hussein's overthrow in 2003.