BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – A roadside bomb hit an armed convoy carrying Iraqi Industry Minister Osama Abdel-Aziz al-Najafi on Thursday, killing three bodyguards but leaving him unharmed, his ministry said.
Ministry spokeswoman Dhuha Mohammed said the convoy was hit near the town of Balad, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad. The blast also wounded another of Najafi’s guards, she said.
Mohammed said the minister, a Sunni, had been travelling home to Mosul in northern Iraq for the weekend. Senior government officials often travel by air because of the threat of roadside bombs.
Sunni Arab insurgents are waging a campaign to topple the Kurdish- and Shi’ite led government, but the United States hopes the formation of a coalition government that includes Sunnis will undermine support for the insurgency.
Iraq’s political parties have begun preliminary talks on a government of national unity following last week’s release of parliamentary election results, which confirmed the dominance of Shi’ite Islamists.