WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. authority in Iraq Thursday appointed a new governor for restive Najaf, at least the third governor of the province since June.
The first governor was arrested by U.S. forces in June and eventually convicted of kidnapping and other charges. The second governor resigned in November in protest of the security situation after a judge was shot and killed.
Coaltion Provisional Authority chief Paul Bremer appointed Adnan al-Zurufi as governor of Najaf. Al-Zurufi earned a degree in Islamic law, headed a student anti-Saddam organization, was jailed and escaped, according to Bremer. He fled in 1991 after the failed Shiite uprising and returned to Iraq in April.
Najaf city, the spiritual center for Shi'ism, has been wracked by violence. At least two leading clerics have been killed at the shrine to Imam Ali. A car bomb there killed more than 100 people. The city is now surrounded by U.S. forces but occupied by the militia of a young cleric, Moqtada Sadr, who is wanted in connection with one of those murders. There are almost daily firefights around the town.
Al-Zurufi said Thursday he would work to end the standoff, improve security, boost tourism, address unemployment, and end the centuries-old practice of bribing government officials.