A top Iraqi oil official has been killed in an attack in the northern city of Kirkuk. Police said the senior adviser in Iraq's North Oil company, Ghazi Talabani, was shot by gunmen as he was being driven to work.

Meanwhile, attacks by Iraqi insurgents on an oil pipeline in the south of the country have sharply reduced its oil exports.

Interim Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban said explosions on Monday and Tuesday damaged a pipeline from the southern oilfields severing the flow to the Basra oil terminal. It was the second attack on the Basra terminal, one of the few operational outlets, in just over a month.

There was also an attack on a pipeline in northern Iraq last night.
North Oil company officials said an explosion between Dibis and a pumping station near Kirkuk was probably caused by saboteurs.

The pipeline from the oilfields around Kirkuk to Ceyhan in Turkey has barely been in operation since the war because of repeated sabotage.
The attacks come two weeks before the US-led coalition is due to hand over power to an interim Iraqi government.