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Iraq political workers killed outside Mosque

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgents killed three members of a leading Sunni Arab party on Friday in southern Mosul -- grabbing them off the street, lining them up against the wall of a mosque and shooting them, officials said.

The public, daylight killings came before the deadline for lawmakers to complete a draft of the constitution, which is to be put before voters in a referendum by October 15.

The political workers were hanging posters in the New Mosul neighborhood and urging people to vote in the referendum when more than 15 gunmen in eight cars drove up and abducted them, according to officials with al-Jamhouri hospital.

They were whisked away to the Dhi al-Norein mosque in the Nour neighborhood of northern Mosul, made to stand against a wall, and shot to death.

The three were members of the Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest and most influential Sunni Arab party in the country.

The slayings occurred around the same time the commander of multinational forces based in Mosul said better techniques and intelligence have made recent inroads in his region into cutting back roadside bombings.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commander of Task Force Freedom, said Friday that bomb attacks have dropped "in both number and effectiveness by about 20 percent" over the past three months.

Other developments

  • Gunmen killed a member of the Hawija town council Friday in Al-Shaklikh, about 35 miles southwest of Kirkuk. He was traveling to Kirkuk when he was shot in a drive-by shooting.
  • The U.S. military said a 65-year-old Iraqi detainee died Friday of an apparent heart attack after a U.S.-Iraqi raid on a house south of Iskandariya, south of Baghdad. An investigation has been started, the U.S. military said.
  • Iraq on Friday remembered the second anniversary of the attack on the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad. It killed 22 people, including veteran international diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello. De Mello was Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy and oversaw operations there after the U.S.-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.
  • CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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