Monday, July 19, 2010
Attacks against Iraqi Sunni militia kill 43
A suicide bomber has killed at least 43 people and wounded another 40 in western Baghdad, Iraqi police told Al Jazeera. The attack on Sunday occurred when members of the government-backed Sahwa militia lined up to be paid at an office in the Sunni district of Radwaniya. In a seperate incident, a suicide bomber stormed a local Sahwa headquarters in the far western town Qaim, near the Syrian border, and opened fire on those inside. The Sahwa fighters returned fire, wounding the attacker, who then blew himself up as they gathered around him, killing three and wounding six others, police officials said.
The Sahwa militia, or 'Awakening movements' took up arms against al-Qaeda in late 2006 with US backing. Its fighters, recruited from among tribesmen and former anti-government fighters, are credited with turning the tide in the war against al-Qaeda in Iraq.In the past six months many Sahwa fighters and members of their families have been killed in revenge attacks.
Control of the Sahwa passed to Iraq in October 2008, and their wages - said to have been cut from $300 under US leadership to $100 monthly - have been paid, often late, by the Shia-led government.
The attack in Baghdad took place as Sahwa fighters gathered outside a military base to collect their pay.