Health of Iraq Governing Council Member Shot Last Week Worsens

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The health of Aquila al-Hashimi (search), one of three women on Iraq's Governing Council (search), has taken a turn for the worse, four days after she was shot in a brazen daylight assassination attempt, a spokesman for the Iraqi Governing Council said Wednesday.

"Her health situation has deteriorated dramatically," said Entifadh Qanbar (search), spokesman for current council President Ahmad Chalabi (search). "Doctors are trying their best. We wish her a speedy recovery."

Al-Hashimi 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. Sources, who asked not to be identified in any way, said there were no plans to move her to a U.S. military clinic 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 Saturday by six men in a pickup truck as she drove in a two car convoy near her home in west Baghdad. Chalabi blamed Saddam Hussein loyalists for the shooting.

Al-Hashimi, a career diplomat and Shiite Muslim, had been expected to become Iraq's new ambassador to the United Nations. She served in the Foreign Ministry during the Saddam government and was the only official of the ousted regime appointed to the 25-member Governing Council.

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 council was established by the U.S.-led coalition in mid-July to put an Iraqi face on the process of rebuilding the country.