KARBALA (Dispatches) – Iraqi security forces have arrested the gunman who assassinated the mayor of the central city of Karbala, Abeer Salim al-Khafaji, after shooting him dead with three bullets to the chest on Tuesday.
Karbala Governor Nassif al-Khattabi said in a brief statement that the assailant in Khafaji’s assassination had been captured. He, however, did not provide any information about the murderer’s identity, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
Khattabi added that Iraqi Interior Minister Othman al-Ghanimi had also ordered the detention of security forces who had been escorting the victim.
Khafaji was on foot supervising a survey of unauthorized construction in Karbala when his killer pulled out a gun and shot him at close range.
Security camera footage posted on social media showed an attacker, dressed in a traditional white robe, open fire in the street and Khafaji fall to the ground.
A security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the mayor of Karbala was shot along with two municipality employees by individuals who were opposed to the municipality’s guidelines.
The source added that the accident occurred on al-Hur Road near al-Safwa College in al-Zahraa residential neighborhood.
The mayor was immediately taken to a nearby hospital but succumbed to his gunshot wounds.
“Murderers and criminals will not escape punishment,” the prime minister promised as he visited Karbala on Wednesday to offer his condolences to Salim’s family.
His office released photographs of him berating the suspected killer, who had been blindfolded by his police captors, during a visit to the crime scene.
On Wednesday, six Iraqi security members were killed and 11 others wounded in a huge explosion in the province of Salahudin, north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a provincial police source said.
The explosion took place in a truck carrying explosives and weapons found by the security forces in the west of the town of Baiji, some 200 kilometers north of Baghdad, Mohammed al-Bazi told Xinhua.
The blast occurred while a joint force from the Iraqi army, police, and popular Hashd a;-Sha’abi forces, was transporting the explosives and weapons in trucks, al-Bazi said.