BAGHDAD, Iraq – An Iraqi council member running for governor in the southern port city of Basra (search) was killed as he left for work Tuesday morning, along with his driver and bodyguard, an Iraqi official said.
Hazim al-Aynachi (search) was pulling out of his driveway when gunmen opened fire on his car. Another person was injured, said council head Abdul Bari Faiyek.
Faiyek blamed the killing on opposition to elections for a local governor which were due to occur Tuesday, but were delayed in response to the shooting.
"Many threats have been directed to the eight council members nominated to the post," Faiyek said, adding that another councilman escaped an assassination attempt on Monday.
The shooting was the latest salvo by insurgents determined to undermine the country's post war reconstruction.
On Monday, a fuel tanker rigged as a massive bomb hurtled toward a Baghdad police station and exploded, killing nine people, wounding 60, and leveling a huge section of an industrial neighborhood.
The blast collapsed the roofs of auto repair shops, destroyed electrical workshops and crushed cars under concrete and bricks. It tore open a 32-foot-wide crater and damaged buildings hundreds of yards away.
Monday's suicide bombing was the fourth in a string of deadly attacks on police and government facilities in the last five days. Since the new government took power June 28, at least 75 people have been killed in militant attacks.
In the holy city of Najaf, Iraqi police discovered a weapons cache including 230 rockets and 200 mortar shells on Monday, police chief Brig. Hussein Mohammed said.
Police also arrested suspected oil smugglers breaching an oil pipeline that connects the southern and northern oil fields, in Bahr al Najaf, 31 miles west of Najaf city, Col. Mohammed al-Bahash said. He said three oil tankers were confiscated.
In response to the kidnapping of a Filipino truck driver, the last of the Philippines' 51 peacekeepers left Iraq and drove into Kuwait. The withdrawal has been criticized by other coalition members, including the United States and Australia, as a dangerous capitulation to terrorists.
An Egyptian truck driver also held hostage was freed Monday evening and taken to his country's embassy. Alsayeid Mohammed Alsayeid Algarabawi was abducted from a truck he had driven from Saudi Arabia into Iraq.
Algarabawi's captors, who called themselves the Iraqi Legitimate Resistance, never threatened to harm him but made a series of demands on his Saudi company, including asking for $1 million ransom and insisting it stop doing business in Iraq.
The Al-Jarie Transport company refused to pay the ransom but agreed to end its business in Iraq, said Faisal al-Naheet, a subcontractor speaking on behalf of the firm.
Militants have used near-constant car bombs, sabotage, assassinations and kidnappings as weapons in their 15-month-old insurgency. They increasingly have targeted police and local officials to try to destabilize the interim Iraqi government and punish those it considers collaborators with the U.S. forces who drove Saddam Hussein from power last year.
Monday's attack was the fourth since July 14. At least 31 people have been killed.
On Sunday, two car bombs in Tikrit killed two police officers and wounded five others.
On Thursday, attackers detonated a car bomb near police and government buildings in the western city of Haditha, killing 10 Iraqis and wounding about 40.
The day before, a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb outside the fortified enclave housing the headquarters of Iraq's interim government, killing at least 10 people.
Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has promised to crack down on insurgents and restore security. In his first foreign trip since taking office June 28, Allawi thanked Jordan's King Abdullah II for helping train thousands of Iraqi troops.
The body of Lt. Col. Nafi al-Kubaisi, the police chief of the town of Heet, was discovered Monday at a market in nearby Fallujah, police said. Al-Kubaisi had been kidnapped Saturday from his police station, said police Capt. Nasir Abdullah.
Militants also fatally shot Essam al-Dijaili, head of the military's supply department, as he was bringing dinner home Sunday. His bodyguard also was killed, said Mishal al-Sarraf, an adviser to the defense minister.