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Falluja council chairman shot dead

The Fallujah city council chairman, Sami Abdul-Amir al-Jumaili, a critic of al-Qaida who took the job after his three predecessors were assassinated, was killed on Saturday.

Abdul-Amir al-Jumaili was gunned down by attackers in a passing car as he was walking outside his home in central Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, according to police.

The 65-year-old Sunni sheikh was the fourth city council chairman to be killed in some 14 months as fighters target fellow Sunnis willing to co-operate with the US and its Iraqi partners.

His assassination came a month after he raised his hand to take the dangerous job, promising to improve services and to work with the Americans to ease traffic-clogging checkpoints in the city with a population of an estimated 150,000 to 200,000.