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      Archive: 8/25/2008
      15:00
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      News Brief

        8/25/2008, Av 24, 5768

      Sons of Israel-Friendly Iraqi Minister Avenged By Court


      Iraq's former Minister of Culture, Asaad al-Hashemi, has been sentenced to death by hanging for his involvement in the drive-by killing of the sons of Iraqi parliament member Mithal al-Alusi.

      Al-Alusi came to Israel in 2004 at the invitation of Herzlyia's Interdisciplinary Center, and told the Yediot Acharanot newspaper that he came "with tidings of peace to Israel."

      Following his visit, al-Alusi's family began receiving threats, with his two sons ultimately being shot down outside their home by anonymous gunmen who shouted that the shooting was "punishment for your visit to Israel."

      About a year ago, two Sunni Muslims were arrested for the crime, and admitted to killing al-Alusi's sons in exchange for $500 each, received from al-Hashemi.  On Friday, a Baghdad court found al-Hashemi guilty in absentia, and sentenced him to death by hanging.  An extradition battle is now taking place between Iraq and Syria, where al-Hashemi is currently located.