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Iraqi provincial governor unhurt in kill attempt

By Staff
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BAGHDAD, May 3 (Reuters) The governor of Iraq's rebellious Anbar province has survived an assassination attempt unharmed, but 10 other civilians died, the US military said today.

A suicide bomber drove his car towards governor Maamoun Sami Rasheed's vehicle in the provincial capital of Ramadi, 110 km (70 miles) west of Baghdad, on Tuesday and blew himself up.

At least five people were also wounded. A U.S. Marine detachment with the convoy exchanged fire with unknown gunmen during the attack, a US military statement said.

It quoted Rasheed as saying it was the ninth attempt to kill him. A son was kidnapped, but returned safely, in 2005.

Hospital staff in Ramadi said three of Rasheed's bodyguards were killed in the attack.

The U.S. military said Rasheed was ''not injured'' in the attack. A member of the governor's staff, who declined to be named, said Rasheed had been given some medical treatment.

''This is a cowardly attempt and this is not in the best interests of Anbar or the country,'' the U.S. statement quoted Rasheed as saying. ''On the same day of the attack, I am here and ready to work.'' A predecessor of Rasheed was kidnapped and killed last year.

Two others resigned, one after his sons were kidnapped. Al Qaeda Islamists and hardline followers of Saddam Hussein vow to kill Sunni Arabs who join the US-sponsored political process.

The U.S. military said on Tuesday that Iraqi and U.S. troops had killed more than 100 insurgents last week in Ramadi. Two Iraqi soldiers died and no Americans were killed.

The province is a stronghold of the Sunni Arab insurgency against U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Reuters CH VP1255

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