[QODLink]
Middle East

Protesters in deadly clash with Iraqi police

Police sources say armed men opened fire on special forces trying to enter Ramadi to dismantle Sunni protest camp there.

Last updated: 30 Dec 2013 22:31
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Police are a favoured target of armed Sunni groups opposed to the Shia-led government [Reuters]

Several people have been killed in fighting that broke out when Iraqi police moved to dismantle a Sunni Muslim protest camp in Anbar province, according to police and medical sources.

Police sources said the clashes broke out on Monday when armed men opened fire on police special forces trying to enter Ramadi, the western Iraqi city where the protest camp is located.

Shooting and blasts were heard in parts of the city. The assailants destroyed four police vehicles and killed at least three policemen in the north of Ramadi, one source said.

The bodies of 10 other people killed in the clashes were brought into Ramadi's morgue, hospital and morgue sources told Reuters news agency.

Separately, assailants in Anbar attacked army patrols deployed along the main highway in Fallujah leading to Ramadi.

Sources told Al Jazeera that a total of 23 people died in Monday's violence in Anbar, with another 20 wounded.

Among the dead in Ramadi were 10 protesters and three police officers. In Fallujah, 10 civilians, four of them children, died and 20 others were injured.

Lieutenant-General Mohammed al-Askari, Iraqi Defence Ministry spokesman, told state television the decision to remove the camp came after tribal leaders and local government and Defence Ministry officials reached a deal.

Some police sources and local officials in Ramadi said tents were still standing in the camp although police and army forces had surrounded the area.

Ali Mussawi, spokesman for Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister of Iraq's Shia-led government, told AFP that military sources confirmed local police and tribes "completed the removal of the tents that were [at] the site, and opened the road that was closed."

This was done "without any losses, after al-Qaeda and its members escaped from the camp to the city, and they are being pursued now," Mussawi said.

The UN called for restraint.

"I am concerned about the current developments in Anbar and call on all to remain calm and to abide by the agreements reached in the course of the last two days," Nickolay Mladenov, UN envoy to Iraq, said in a statement.

339

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.