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Blast critically wounds governor in western Iraq

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
  • Governor Qassim al-Fahdawi critically wounded in suicide attack in Ramadi city
  • He was injured when he went to aid of people caught in two bomb attacks moments earlier
  • At least 22 others killed and more than 57 wounded in the attacks
  • Suicide bomber approached the governor and detonated an explosive vest
  • Iraq
  • Anbar Province

(CNN) -- A suicide bomber critically wounded the governor of western Iraq's Anbar province Wednesday when he went to check on the victims of two car bombs that had gone off moments earlier, officials said.

The attacks also killed at least 22 others and wounded more than 57 -- many of them Iraqi security forces members, the Interior Ministry said.

A ministry official said Governor Qassim al-Fahdawi had been warned a few days ago about a possible attack targeting him.

The bomber who targeted him was one of his bodyguards, said the Anbar Salvation Council.

The council, akin to Awakening Councils elsewhere in Iraq, is made up of former Sunni insurgents who have turned on al Qaeda.

Wednesday's attack took place in Ramadi city, near police headquarters and the governor's office.

Two car bombs exploded in quick succession, claiming several lives. When the governor went to the scene, a suicide bomber approached and detonated an explosives-packed vest, the Interior Ministry said.

In the city of Khalis in Diyala province, at least six people were killed and 12 others were wounded on Wednesday when a roadside bomb struck a procession of Shiite pilgrims.

Pilgrims around the world ended their observance of the Ashura holy day on Sunday, and in the runup to that day, several died in attacks apparently launched by Sunni militants.

Ashura commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed who was killed in battle in Karbala in 680 A.D. That's one of the events that helped create the schism between Sunnis and Shiites, the two main Muslim religious movements.

But in some parts of Iraq, pilgrims continue their processions until they mark the Arbaeen -- the end of the 40-day mourning period for the martyred Hussein.