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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Shot Iraq council member dies
Aqila al-Hashimi
Ms Hashimi was one of three women on the 25-member Council
A female member of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council has died five days after being shot, the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority has said.

Aqila al-Hashimi was ambushed near her home on Saturday by gunmen, who attacked her convoy with machine guns and a bomb. She was being treated for gunshot wounds to the stomach.

The head of the US-led administration in Iraq, Paul Bremer, paid tribute to her: "Today the people of Iraq have lost a champion and pioneer of freedom and democracy."

The attack on Hashimi was the first assassination of a member of the council.

Many Iraqis opposed to the US control have denounced the appointed council, accusing its members of collaborating with the US and being part of a puppet administration with little real power, says the BBC's Jill McGivering in Baghdad.

In recent weeks, there have been signs that non-military organisations, as well as coalition troops, have increasingly become targets of attack, she says.

Scene of the Baghdad bomb blast
Thursday's bomb went off in a hotel complex housing foreign journalists
News of Hashimi's death came shortly after a bomb went off at the Baghdad hotel used by US television network NBC, killing one person.

A career diplomat, Dr Hashimi was one of three women members of the 25-member council and the only former Baathist to occupy a council post.

She had had a high profile in the old regime, serving as a senior member of the foreign ministry in Saddam Hussein's government.

Baghdad blast

At least one person, a Somali security guard, was killed and two others wounded in the bomb blast at Baghdad's Aike Hotel earlier on Thursday.

Iraqi police said the bomb, which is reported to have gone off at about 0700 local time (0300 GMT), had been placed in a hut that housed the hotel generator.

It is the first time Western media in Iraq has been specifically targeted since the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

The blast follows an explosion on Wednesday at a cinema in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which killed two people and injured up to 20 others.

Canadian soundman David Moodie, who was one of about a dozen NBC staff inside the building at the time, was hurt by flying glass.

""I was awake," he said. "A chest of drawers in the room fell on me. I sleep in the room immediately above the generator, so I guess I was lucky."

The BBC's Hywel Jones
"She was the only prominent figure from the Saddam-era to find a place in Iraq's governing council"

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