Teacher killed in Baghdad

Attack is week's third on an Iraqi educator

November 08, 2007|By Doug Smith | Doug Smith,LOS ANGELES TIMES

BAGHDAD -- Gunmen killed a teacher yesterday on her way to class in a well-to-do Baghdad neighborhood, in what authorities said was the third attack on an Iraqi educator this week.

Police said Hana Lafta Mohsen, 35, a mathematics teacher at the Mansour neighborhood's Intifada Intermediate School, was shot in the head by unknown assailants. She died at a local hospital.

On Sunday, gunmen stormed into a primary school in the Sadiya neighborhood of south Baghdad and killed headmistress Bushra Abdul Hurr in front of her students.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, armed men abducted a school principal Monday. The men stopped a car carrying several teachers and released all but the principal, Imad Mohammed, said one of the teachers, who asked not to be named.

A Baghdad police official said he was not aware of a connection between the two shootings in the capital, but said the resumption of school after the three-month Iraqi summer break could have been a factor.

Iraqi schools have been the scenes of violence before. Schools shut down in parts of Baghdad in 2006 at the height of the country's civil war, with some teachers targeted by extremist groups.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi army spokesman in Baghdad said that improving security conditions had prompted the return of more than 46,000 Iraqis to their homeland during October. They were among more than 2 million Iraqis who have taken refuge primarily in neighboring Jordan and Syria.

Qassim Ata, spokesman for the Iraqi element of the U.S.-led troop buildup, also cited the start of the school year as a possible reason for the return of families to Iraq.

However, Syria and Jordan have recently tightened immigration restrictions, forcing Iraqis to leave when their three-month visas expire unless they qualify for refugee status.

Meanwhile, six unidentified homicide victims were found in the capital yesterday, and a sniper killed Muhannand Mizhir Sheikhly, the son of a leading member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, the country's main Sunni political group.

Elsewhere, a suicide truck bomb exploded near the office of a Kurdish political party in Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad. At least 13 people were wounded in the attack, said Iraqi police Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir.

Doug Smith writes for the Los Angeles Times. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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