US president visits Iraq days before key report and says “surge” working in al-Anbar
Ahmed Abu Risha was elected the new leader of the Anbar Salvation Conference just hours after his brother’s killing.
Pallbearers carried Abdul Sattar Abu Risha’s body from Ramadi to the cemetery 10km outside the city, while the funeral procession shouted “revenge, revenge on al-Qaeda.”
Abdul Sattar Abu Risha had urged the tribal leaders in other Iraqi provinces to follow Anbar’s lead in co-operating with the central government against al-Qaeda.
“He was returning home when his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb planted by insurgents,” Colonel Tareq al-Dulaimi, Anbar security chief, said.
“His car was hit directly.”
Sheikh Jubeir Rashid, a senior member of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha’s group, told the Associated Press: “It is a major blow to the council, but we are determined to strike back and continue our work.
“Such an attack was expected, but it will not deter us.”
Two of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha’s bodyguards were also killed by the roadside bomb, Colonel Tareq Youssef, supervisor of Anbar police, said.
Police announced a state of emergency in Ramadi after the bombing and set up additional checkpoints throughout the city, Rashid said.
“Iraq is still under foreign occupation and Iraqis continue to die in great numbers”
General David Petraeus, the senior US commander in Iraq, repeatedly pointed to successes in tackling a-Qaeda in Anbar during his testimony before the US congress.
Omar Abdul Sattar from the Islamic Party of Iraq told Al Jazeera that Abdul Sattar Abu Rishar had become a national symbol of the “national war against al-Qaeda”.
The White House condemned Abdul Sattar Abu Risha’s “assassination”.
Bush mentioned the killing in a speech on Thursday in which he announced that he may pull some 30,000 US troops out of Iraq by mid-2008 effectively ending the so-called surge.
“Anbar province was really the capital of al-Qaeda in Iraq … he managed to convince the tribes to give up their young people to make up the police and armed forces in the province,” she said.
Within hours of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha’s death, some Islamist websites posted messages praising his killing, the Associated Press news agency reported.