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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 August 2007, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Bomb kills southern Iraq governor
A powerful roadside bomb has killed the governor and police chief of the southern Iraqi province of Qadisiya.

The governor was a key figure in the Badr Organisation, the military wing of the largest Shia Muslim party, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC).

Khalil Jalil Hamza and police chief Maj-Gen Khaled Hassan were returning to Diwaniya city after a funeral when a bomb exploded beside their convoy.

The area has seen clashes between Shia militias and security forces.

The bomb blew the vehicle off the road into a water-channel as the officials returned from a tribal leader's funeral.

The governor died instantly, while the police chief died in hospital.

Indefinite curfew

It is believed to be the first time since the US-led invasion four years ago that the two most important officials of any province in Iraq have been assassinated.

Iraqi state television said the deputy governor had ordered an indefinite curfew in the province from 1900 (1500 GMT) in response to the killings.

Three bodyguards were also killed.

The Badr Organisation has frequently clashed with rival fighters from the Mahdi Army loyal to radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.

The governor had recently issued instructions for other militias in the province to be disarmed.

What the deaths could mean for southern Iraq

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