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Iraqi PM Calls Blast Assassination Attempt

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, December 3, 2011.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says a car bomb explosion inside of Baghdad's fortified Green Zone this week was an assassination attempt against him.

In a Saturday interview with the Associated Press, Maliki said preliminary information indicated the blast was supposed to take place as he entered parliament.

On Friday, Iraqi security officials also said the prime minister appeared to be the intended target of the bombing, on Monday, that left at least one person dead and several wounded.

Investigators say preliminary information indicates the bomber intended to drive his vehicle, filled with explosives, to a parking lot near the parliament building and detonate the explosives when Maliki arrived.

However, officials at a checkpoint turned back the driver because he did not have proper credentials. Authorities say he then went to a nearby parking lot and detonated the explosives.

The blast took place at a time of heightened concern about Baghdad's ability to handle security after U.S. forces withdraw at the end of the month.

Earlier this week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Iraqi officials, ahead of the pull-out.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.