At least nine people were killed on Saturday when a suicide bomber targeted Sunni Arab militiamen, or Sahwas, at their headquarters, south of Baghdad. The US-allied patrolmen have been playing a crucial role in cutting down violence in Iraq.
REUTERS - A suicide bomber targeted a group of Sunni Arab militiamen south of Baghdad on Saturday as they queued at an Iraqi army post to collect pay cheques, killing 9 and wounding 31, police said.
The U.S.-sponsored Sunni patrolmen, or Sahwas, helped cut violence in Iraq after they turned on al Qaeda and other
insurgent groups, but ties between them and the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad have been strained in recent weeks by the arrest of Sahwa leaders.
The attack took place in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of the Iraqi capital, which was once part of an area known as
the "Triangle of Death" where Sunni Islamist extremists frequently attacked Shi'ite Muslims.
The bombing occurred as the men were waiting to get overdue money from the authorities. Delays in paying the Sahwas, also known as "Awakening Councils," have contributed to tensions between them and the government.
"The Sahwa men were preparing to enter the military post to receive their salaries when a suicide bomber managed to blow himself up among them, killing nine of them," said police colonel Ali al-Zahawi, head of Iskandariya police.
Violence across Iraq has fallen dramatically over the past year but insurgents and militants continue to carry out frequent car and suicide bomb attacks. Suicide bombings are a hallmark of al Qaeda.
Date created : 2009-04-11