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Iraq Health Official Killed By Gunmen At His Baghdad Home

ADAM SCHRECK   04/ 1/10 11:47 AM ET   AP

Iraq Awakening Councils

BAGHDAD — Gunmen armed with silenced pistols fatally shot a Health Ministry official at his home in Baghdad in an apparent targeting of government employees, according to Iraqi police.

The killing, one of a number of scattered attacks late Wednesday and into Thursday, comes amid growing concerns that the political uncertainty created by last month's indecisive elections could lead to more violence as U.S. forces prepare to accelerate their withdrawal in the coming months.

Police say Mohammed Chillab was sitting in his garden at home in the capital's northern Sunni al-Silaikh neighborhood late Wednesday when three attackers shot him using silenced pistols.

Chillab was the deputy head of the technical affairs department at the Health Ministry, according to a ministry official. Baghdad's morgue confirmed the death.

Violence has fallen considerably throughout Iraq since the height of sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007. Occasional attacks against government officials by insurgents and criminal groups continue to occur, however.

Many Iraqis fear the uncertainty of the postelection period could provoke increased violence as competing political parties struggle to form a coalition government.

Also late Wednesday, attackers shot dead the owner of a mobile phone shop in Baghdad's northeastern Ur district he was closing up, according to police.

"Gunmen parked their car here, entered into the shop and opened fire on the owner as his family were nearby," said Taif Hassan, a resident who lives in the area.

Separately, three people were wounded when a liquor store in Hurriyah district in north Baghdad was struck by a bomb Thursday morning, according to police and hospital officials. A police officer who described the blast said it was the third attack of its kind in the area in a week.

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media about the attacks.

In Tikrit, police said a bomb went off near a U.S. convoy on patrol, injuring at least one civilian. The area was quickly cordoned off by American and Iraqi troops.

The U.S. military said it was looking into the matter but had no immediate details.

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Associated Press writer Muhieddin Rashad contributed reporting.

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Filed by Adam Taylor  |