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Iraqi election candidate shot dead

Friday, gunmen shot to death a candidate belonging to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa Party, while campaigning ahead of provincial elections scheduled for month-end.

Reports quoting police said the gunmen intercepted a convoy of Hashim al-Husseini, who was proceeding to the town of Jbela, south of Baghdad, for campaign.

Husseini was killed and four of his accomplices were injured in the shooting near Hillah.

He is the second candidate to be assassinated during election campaign in Iraq.

On December 31, gunmen killed a Sunni Arab party candidate inside a cafe in the city of Mosul.

In all, 14,431 candidates are contesting the January 31 election to 440 provincial council seats across Iraq.

Iraq's first elections in just over three years are crucial in unifying the country and solidifying security gains.

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