"Killer" of first election candidate identified; Whereabouts unknown

Ibrahim Obeidi –Kirkuk The young lecturer was at his favourite barber shop in Kirkuk's downtown for a haircut before being shot and killed while on his way to drive his car on Baghdad Main road, south east of Kirkuk; authorities have identified the assassin of Ali Almas Ghaeib almost two months after the crime. Almas was the first candidate for the upcoming parliamentary elections, planned for May12 to come under attack by unknown gunmen in the afternoon of February 6, 2018; the prime suspect has been identified by security forces but no direct proof of his whereabouts is obtainable. The new emerging politician, 30, was a lecturer at Kirkuk University and a member of the Turkmen Ata movement; he was also a candidate of the "Al-Naser" alliance led by the Iraqi premier Haider Al-Abadi, a statement released by his movement said. Ali was at work at university until noon to carry out his duties both as a lecturer at the department of law and political sciences and security permission officer at Kirkuk University. After work, he left university to Baghdad road for a haircut; later while he was on his way to get into his car, he was murdered by gunmen, shooting him from their car; Ali immediately died at the scene. "Ali Almas was engaged in politics as a member of the Ata movement, a Turkmen party with close ties to the PM’s alliance "Al-Naser", which earned him a place as a candidate from his party to the next elections," Najat Hussein, a Turkmen member of the Kirkuk's provincial council told KirkukNow. "We still don't know why he was assassinated but it seems to be related to his new job at university; he became a target for several sides, especially after assuming the responsibility of the security permission department at Kirkuk's University which is a sensitive position" Abdul-Azeem Almas, Ali's brother told KirkukNow, without revealing names of the suspects mentioned. “We’re unable to identify the perpetrators and the main suspect is yet to be detained; however, the security services were able to identify the devices used in the assassination," he added. Omer Enja, vice-provost at Kirkuk University told KirkukNow that "the crime is under investigation by the police and we wait for the outcomes; the lecturer had no problem inside the university; however he has recently nominated himself for the elections." "Several unknown gunmen shot the university lecturer and run away," a source from the city's security forces, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told KirkukNow, “investigation has begun immediately after the crime”. Nearly two months after the attack, a high-profile security source told KirkukNow, “the security apparatus closely follows the case and were able to identify the prime suspect and reveal that a vehicle (Dodge Charger, Model 2016) was used in the crime, adding that they managed to arrest a number of , and through them police was able to identifiy the main suspect".

Ali Almas Ghaeib, Candidate and university lecturer in Kirkuk province, who was shot to death inside his car.
“The suspects are now under interrogation at the directorate of eradication of crimes at the office of national security agency, the source further told KirkukNow, “they were brought before the court and the murder investigation continues.” The main suspect used to be a resident of Kirkuk's Runaki neighbourhood, but a year ago, he left Runaki and his whereabouts is currently unknown. Meanwhile, the security authorities told KirkukNow; “they manage to find out the killer as they had already succeeded in finding those who killed an employee and a police officer of Kirkuk's police directorate along with other suspects. Najat Hussein said, "the investigations will reveal the cause of his death, Ali was a candidate, in charge of the university's security committee as well as a lecturer; it is likely the killing is related to one of these three positions". His political party, Ata Movement, in a statement condemned the "assassination" of Ali and accused a filthy hand for the crime; "he was our party's candidate for the elections and assassinated by a filthy hand that doesn't want stability and security for Iraq," said the statement. On the same day, Ali’s body was taken to the Shia holy city of Karbala (100 km southwest of Baghdad) for burial.                

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