Insurgents have struck again in Iraq, this time assassinating a senior government official, as they try to derail next month's national elections.
Police say unidentified gunmen killed the director of the Communications Ministry in a drive-by shooting as he headed to work today (Thursday) in Baghdad.
Meanwhile, Italy is investigating reports that one of its nationals has been killed in Iraq, after video surfaced on Al-Jazeera television of a man believed to be an Italian held by gunmen.
And in a separate development, attorneys for ousted leader Saddam Hussein say he met today (Thursday) with a defense lawyer for the first time since his capture last year. Investigative hearings of Saddam's top lieutenants are to begin very soon, but the former dictator is likely to be among the last tried.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.