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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 October 2005, 15:56 GMT
Gunmen target top Iraqi officials
Government adviser Ghalib Abdul Mehdi's car after his murder
Iraqi insurgents frequently target government officials
A senior Iraqi government adviser has been shot dead on his way to work in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Ghalib Abdul Mehdi, an aide to Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and brother of Vice-President Adel Abdul Mehdi, was gunned down along with his driver.

In a separate attack in the capital, Deputy Trade Minister Qais Dawoud Hassan was wounded by gunmen.

The attack on his motorcade killed two of his bodyguards and wounded another five guards and a passer-by.

Meanwhile, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that US and Iraqi forces are having an impact on the effectiveness of insurgent groups.

The mainly Sunni insurgency frequently targets government officials as part of its campaign against the Shia and Kurdish-led administration, which is backed by the US.

'Feeling of hatred'

President Jalal Talabani has sent a message of condolence to Adel Abdul Mehdi following the death of his brother at the hands of gunmen.

The pressure applied on terrorists and insurgents is having an effect
Donald Rumsfeld
US defence secretary
"I am sure you will turn this sadness and agony into a feeling of hatred toward the killers," it said.

The attack on the deputy trade minister took place in the upmarket Baghdad district of Mansour.

Mr Hassan was taken to hospital after reportedly being shot in the shoulder, and his condition is unknown.

The attacks come a day after a vehicle bomb killed at least 30 people and wounded dozens more in Howaider, about 60km (35 miles) north of Baghdad.

Iraqi political blocs are preparing for parliamentary elections on 15 December.

In an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, Mr Rumsfeld said insurgent attacks might increase before the polls.

But he added: "The pressure applied on terrorists and insurgents is having an effect.

"We are capturing and killing large numbers of high-ranking people from groups like those of al-Qaeda and Zarqawi."

He said an increasing number of Iraqis were providing tip-offs about insurgent activity.

New prison

Meanwhile, the US military has announced the opening of a new prison with the capacity to hold more than 1,700 detainees near the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniya.

"Fort Suse" began operations on 17 October and its first inmates arrived on 24 October, it said.

"The opening of Fort Suse is a big step in the transition of detention operations to the Iraqis," said Major General William Brandenburg, commanding general of detainee operations.

"It will be the first facility to be completely turned over to Iraqi control.

"This complete transition of operations will take place after extensive training of Iraqi guards and only after they are completely confident in their ability to run this facility."

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