Iraq: Senior Shiite lawmaker killed in roadside bombing in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi officials say a lawmaker loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has been killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.

The explosion hit a convoy carrying a group of lawmakers from al-Sadr's parliament bloc. The convoy was about 200 yards from an Iraqi army checkpoint in a heavily secured area near Sadr City, Baghdad's main Shiite district, when it was hit. At least one bystander was also killed.

The U.S. military is blaming Shiite extremists for the midmorning blast. The attack is raising concerns that rivalries within political groups, whether Shiite or Sunni, could emerge ahead of provincial elections.

The lawmaker (Saleh al-Auqaeili) was a senior member of al-Sadr's political bloc and was known for his moderate stance within the movement. Al-Sadr's cease-fire order to his militia has been a key factor in the decline in violence in Iraq.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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