Gunmen opened fire Thursday on a car belonging to Iraq's foreign minister, killing one official and wounding two others, an Iraqi National Guard (search) official said. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari (search) was not in the vehicle at the time.

The attack on the two-car convoy occurred at about 7 p.m., about 65 miles south of Kirkuk (search).

"There were five Foreign Ministry officials in the car," said Brig. Anwar Mohammed Ahmed of the Iraqi National Guard in Kirkuk.

Ahmed said one of the officials was killed when an Opel sedan sped up and opened fire. Two others were injured.

Zebari, an ethnic Kurd, was in Brussels, Belgium, earlier this week appealing for NATO (search) to quickly deliver on its promised assistance to his country's armed forces. He had warned that Iraq faced "a race against time" to improve security before next year's elections.

Militants have frequently targeted top Kurdish officials in the north as part of an effort to sow ethnic tension in a region that groups Kurds, Arabs and ethnic Turkomen.