Five Iraqi judges escape Baghdad bombs

BAGHDAD Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:25pm EDT

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Five Iraqi appeals court judges escaped assassination attempts on Monday when bombs exploded outside their homes in eastern Baghdad, an apparent attempt to intimidate the court, police and a judicial official said.

All five bombs in different neighborhoods detonated but failed to kill or wound their targets. The wife of Ali al-Alaq, one of the judges, was wounded.

Alaq and the other targets, Sulaiman Abdullah, Ghanim Janab, Alaa al-Timimi and Hassan Fouad are all judges in one of Baghdad's two appeals courts.

The attacks came just days after gunmen shot dead the court's chief judge, Kamel al-Shewaili, as he drove to his home in eastern Baghdad.

Abdul Satar Birqadr, a spokesman for Iraq's High Judicial Council, said the bombings must have been planned.

"These attacks were organized. All happened on the same day, in the same way and the same part of Baghdad," he said.

It was unclear who carried out these attacks. Judges and other professionals have been targeted by militants.

Judges were being targeted largely because they were doing a good job and staying neutral, Birqadr said.

"These attacks have merely increased our resolve to stick to the principles we adopted," he added. "There are bodyguards and compounds but we can't always stop these things from happening."

Birqadr said the High Judicial Council had appealed to the government for better security for judges. He said the council was building a secured village for them to live in but that it had not yet been finished.

(Reporting by Aws Qusay, Wisam Mohammed and Khalid al-Ansary; Writing by Tim Cocks; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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