BAGHDAD — An Iraqi Parliament member who was also the leader of a local council of the Sunni Awakening, a US-backed group of Sunni militias that switched sides to fight against Al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Anbar Province Tuesday, security and government officials said.
The lawmaker, Efan al-Essawi, who owned a construction company, had gone to inspect a road that it was building to connect Fallujah with the main highway in Anbar, a trade route that leads west to Syria and Jordan. The region has been embroiled in turmoil since last month, when protests, led mostly by Sunnis, broke out against the Shi’ite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The demonstrations continued in Anbar on Tuesday.
Officials said that the suicide attacker, disguised as a worker, approached Essawi and blew himself up, killing Essawi and injuring a guard.
Essawi had escaped assassination attempts before. In 2009, attackers placed a magnetic bomb on the armored car that he was using when he was a candidate for Parliament, the first attack on a candidate as those elections approached.
The province called for three days of mourning for Essawi, a prominent local figure. Members of his largely Sunni bloc of lawmakers, Iraqiya, boycotted a session of Parliament in protest over the inability of the government to respond to the demands of the demonstrators and its failure to provide adequate security.