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Shot Iraqi politician dies from wounds

Hashimi was one of three women on the council.
Hashimi was one of three women on the council.

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Akila al-Hashimi
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi Governing Council member Akila al-Hashimi died Thursday from gunshot wounds sustained five days ago in an attack on her convoy, and her loss is being mourned and decried by the coalition and Iraqi officials.

Hashimi's condition had been deteriorating while she remained in the critical care unit of Baghdad's Ibn Sina Hospital, a spokesman for the Governing Council said.

The Governing Council issued a statement saying Hashimi "fell martyr on the path of struggle for freedom and democracy in building of this great nation.

"The heinous crime was committed by a godless and evil band known for its oppressions and injustices.

On this occasion we reiterate our commitment to continue on the same path and shall advance steadfastly with determination and shall remain faithful in fulfilling our great nation's goals."

Calling Hashimi "a brave and dedicated public servant," Ahmad Chalabi, currently the president of the Governing Council, said "we are deeply saddened."

"Saddam Hussein and his gang of thugs continue to inflict terror on the Iraqi people but they will be defeated.

He will never stop millions of brave Iraqis uniting to build the free and democratic Iraq that he so fears."

U.S. civilian administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer called Hashimi "an inspiration to her nation," and offered condolences on behalf of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

The council announced a three-day mourning period to begin Thursday, and invited all Iraqis to take part in a funeral procession that will start from Hashimi's house.

She was shot in the leg and abdomen when gunmen opened fire on her convoy near her Baghdad home Saturday, Iraqi officials said.

The attack wounded her brother, guard, and driver. It was the first attack on Iraq's new leadership since coalition officials established the council several months ago.

Hashimi was one of three women on the 25-member Iraqi Governing Council and the only member to have held a high position in the Baath Party government of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Most of the 25 council members are Iraqi exiles.

Hashimi's brother suffered injuries when the car crashed; her driver was shot in the back; and her guard sustained a gunshot wound in arm.

Local Iraqi guards fired on the attackers, killing one of them, according to Iraqi police.

Hashimi had been expected to come to New York for the upcoming U.N. General Assembly and had been talked about as the next Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations. Chalabi said the Iraqi delegation will attend the U.N. General Assembly this week "despite the intention of the terrorists ... and deliver Iraq's message of peace, democracy and human rights."

The attack happened around 7:30 a.m. Saturday when a group of at least four gunmen in a pick-up truck fired on Hashimi's two-car convoy as it left her home, according to police. The gunmen reportedly threw a grenade in the road to prevent anyone chasing them as they sped away.

Police said the guards had spotted the same men hanging around the neighborhood for several days, possibly casing Hashimi's house.

She died at 11:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET) Thursday, a coalition official said.

-- CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson, Correspondent Jason Bellini, and Senior U.N. Producer Liz Neisloss contributed to this report


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