Nineteen killed in attack on Sunni militia in Iraq
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber attacked a government-backed militia north of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 19 people in an apparent attempt by Sunni insurgents to stoke unrest against Iraq's Shi'ite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.
Police said the bomber had infiltrated a meeting of Sahwa tribal fighters and detonated his explosives as they were gathering to pick up salaries in Taji, a town 20 km (12 miles) north of the capital.
The seventh suicide bombing in a month was part of an surge in violence a year after U.S. troops pulled out of the OPEC oil producer, where Shi'ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurdish factions still struggle over how to share power.
"We got a call they had been a huge blast on the Sahwa headquarters in Taji. The Sahwa were there to collect their pay," said local police commissioner Furat Faleh. "When we rushed to the hall ... people were lying bleeding all around and cash was scattered in pools of blood."
The Sahwa or "Sons of Iraq" are former Sunni insurgents who rebelled against al-Qaeda in the Sunni heartland province of Anbar at the height of the U.S.-led war and helped American troops to turn the tide of the conflict.
No group claimed responsibility for Monday's attack, but al Qaeda's affiliate, Islamic State of Iraq, has vowed to take back ground lost to American and U.S. forces, and has urged Iraqi Sunnis to rise up against Maliki's government.
A suicide bomber and gunmen killed at least 33 people in a huge blast at the police headquarters in the disputed northern oil city of Kirkuk on Sunday.
Maliki has been struggling to end mass protests by Sunni Muslims against what they see as marginalisation of their sect since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the rise of Iraq's Shi'ite majority.
The Sunni unrest and the violence are compounding fears that the war in neighbouring Syria - where Sunni rebels are battling to topple President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Shi'ite Iran - could undermine Iraq's own delicate sectarian and ethnic balance. (Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- Govt considers ban on e-cigarettes, sale of single smokes
- India's fiscal deficit in H1 almost 83 pct of full-year target
- Islamic State fighters kill 220 Iraqis from tribe that opposed them
- Muslim men over 50 pray at Jerusalem's Aqsa mosque amid tight security
- Europe won't recognise vote in eastern Ukraine, Merkel tells Putin
China will dispatch an elite unit from the People's Liberation Army to help Ebola-hit Liberia, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday, responding to U.N. calls for a greater global effort to fight the deadly virus in West Africa. Full Article
Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves. Full Article