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Anti-al-Qaida leader killed in Iraq shooting

Tuesday - 3/5/2013, 3:08pm  ET

SINAN SALAHEDDIN
Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A local leader of anti-al-Qaida militiamen was shot dead Tuesday in western Baghdad, one of eight people killed in violence in different parts of Iraq, officials said.

The pro-government militiamen, known as the Sahwa group, joined forces with U.S. troops to fight al-Qaida during the Iraq war. Since then, the group has been a target for Sunni insurgents who consider its members to be traitors.

The leader was driving through Baghdad's western suburb of Abu Ghraib when drive-by shooters sprayed his car with bullets, killing him, a police officer said.

Another group of drive-by shooters shot and killed a municipality official in the capital's southern Saydiyah neighborhood, another police officer said.

Also in Baghdad, gunmen broke into a real estate office in the northern Sabi al-Boor neighborhood, killing two and wounding two, police said. The motive behind the attack was not immediately clear.

Three health officials confirmed the causalities. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information to reporters.

Violence has ebbed in Iraq, but Sunni insurgents still launch frequent attacks to challenge the Shiite-led government.

In the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, a car bomb exploded on a police patrol, killing two policemen and wounding 16 others, including eight civilians, said Kirkuk police Colonel Taha Salaheddin.

Shortly before sunset, a car bomb went off near a youth soccer field during a local match in the town Khan Bani Saad, killing two people and wounding 16 others, police said. The town is about 35 kilometers (20 miles) north of Baghdad.

Also, the provincial spokesman of the northern Kurdish city of Irbil, Hamza Othman, says a bomb attached to a car belonging to the Kurdish regional forces exploded and wounded a colonel.

Irbil is in Iraq's largely peaceful Kurdish region, 350 kilometers (220 miles) north of Baghdad. The area has generally been free of the bombings and shootings that have plagued the rest of Iraq.

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Associated Press writer Sameer N. Yacoub contributed.


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