Iraq Sunni MP killed by suicide bomber

Sunni demonstrators in Fallujah on 4 Jan 2013 Fallujah has been the scene of recent Sunni demonstrations against the Shia-led government

A Sunni member of parliament has been killed by a suicide bomber in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, officials have said.

The bomber pretended he was greeting MP Eifan Saadoun al-Issawi and then blew himself up. Two bodyguards also died.

The attack come just days after the Sunni Finance Minister, Rafie al-Issawi, survived an assassination attempt as he travelled to the city.

Anbar province has seen growing protests by the Sunni minority against the Shia-led central government.

"The moment he stepped out of the car to check out this road between Fallujah and Amiriyah, at this moment, there was a man," Sohaib Haqi, Eifan al-Issawi aide, told the AFP news agency.

"He came to him, hugged him, said 'Allahu Akbar' ('God is great'), and blew himself up."

As well as the two bodyguards killed, several others were also wounded in the attack.

Eifan al-Issawi was one of the main key founders of a so-called Awakening Council in Fallujah.

The Awakening Councils, drawn from among the country's Sunni Arabs, have been seen as a key factor in reducing violence across the country since 2006.

The 37-year-old MP was also part of the Sunni-backed Iraqiyya bloc, which holds some posts in Iraq's fragile national unity government but is also the main opposition to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

A spokesman for the Anbar provincial council said officials had declared a three-day mourning period.

The region has seen a wave of protests in recent weeks. Sunnis say anti-terrorism laws are being misused to detain members of their community and claim they are being targeted by the authorities.

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