ISIL attacks home of key Iraqi tribal leader

Police officers killed in assault on compound belonging to Anbar's Sunni Awakening figure while he was visiting the US.

    Sunni tribal fighters have battled ISIL in Anbar despite a shortage of arms and ammunitions [Reuters]
    Sunni tribal fighters have battled ISIL in Anbar despite a shortage of arms and ammunitions [Reuters]

    Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group have seized a compound belonging to an influential tribal leader in Iraq's Anbar province, killing nine police officers as they blew up buildings.

    The attack on Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha's home occurred on Sunday night as he and other tribal leaders were visiting Washington, DC to lobby for more US military support, Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf reported from Baghdad on Tuesday.

    The attack lasted for hours on the edge of the provincial capital Ramadi, she said.

    After killing the police officers, who were members of the local tribe, the ISIL fighters moved into Abu Risha's compound, laid explosives and blew up the buildings, she said.

    "It's a very powerful message from ISIL," our correspondent said.

    While Baghdad remains under the control of security forces, government officials acknowledge that at least 70 percent of Anbar is under the control of ISIL.

    Abu Risha led the Sunni Awakening, when tribes teamed up with the US military against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    He and other tribal leaders have said that unless they get direct weapons from the US, "they don't stand a chance" of defeating ISIL, Al Jazeera's Arraf said.

    Security forces regain control

    Following the attack on Abu Risha's compound, Anbar police said 15 ISIL fighters were killed in an air strike on the complex on Tuesday.

    The same sources said security forces had regained control of the compound by Wednesday but that the task remained to remove booby traps placed by ISIL before retreating.

    Violence continues to take its toll in Anbar and beyond in some of the worst bloodshed in years.

    Two bombings targeting Shia neighbourhoods in Baghdad killed eight people on Tuesday.

    Police officials told the Associated Press news agency that a bomb blast near a clinic killed five people and wounded 11 others in the New Baghdad district.

    A second bomb attached to a minibus exploded in the city's Sadr City neighbourhood, killing three passengers and wounding seven others, the police said.

    Hospital officials confirmed the casualty tolls.

    Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni groups such as ISIL frequently target the country's Shia majority, whom they consider heretics.

    In northeast Diyala province, medical sources in Saadiya hospital told Al Jazeera that they have received 11 dead bodies, and the victims appear to be summarily-executed with gunshots to the head and chest.

    The hospital added that all victims were Sunnis, and were refugees who fled the clashes between Shia volunteer forces and ISIL.

    And in al-Karma and Fallujah, five civilians were killed among them three members of one family.

    Two civilians were killed, and two others were injured in an Iraqi army artillery shelling that targeted Fallujah.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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