Iraqi police chief says gunmen killed anti-al-Qaida fighter, his family west of Baghdad

By Hamid Ahmed, AP
Thursday, June 17, 2010

Iraqi police: Gunmen kill anti-al-Qaida fighter

BAGHDAD — Gunmen stormed the home of an anti-al-Qaida fighter west of Baghdad on Thursday, killing him and four family members as they slept in the garden to escape the summer heat, officials said.

It was the second attack in as many days on Sunni figures who have turned against the terror network.

The pre-dawn attack on Khudr al-Issawi and his family took place before dawn in a village near Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad. Issawi, his wife, two daughters and a son were killed, said local police chief Brig. Gen. Mahmoud al-Issawi. Another son was wounded.

The police chief, who blamed al-Qaida in Iraq for the attack, said the slain farmer was a member one of the local government-backed Sunni militias known as Awakening Councils in the village of Fhelat. The groups helped change the course of the war when they revolted against al-Qaida and joined the Americans in late 2006 and 2007.

Thursday’s attack occurred in Anbar province, home to some of the war’s fiercest fighting and birthplace of the Awakening Council movement, also known as Sahwa, or awakening, as well as Sons of Iraq.

Members have frequently been targeted by al-Qaida militants as revenge or as an effort to discourage others from joining.

On Wednesday, the leader of an Awakening Council near Baghdad was killed by a bomb that had been attached to his car in Hamdaniya, a village in the Abu Ghraib district west of Baghdad, police and hospital officials said.

Although violence has declined dramatically since Iraq teetered on the brink of civil war a few years ago, attacks continue in the capital and other areas. The violence is a serious challenge for Iraq’s police and military as the U.S. prepares to withdraw all combat forces by the end of August.

Also on Thursday, gunmen killed an Iraqi soldier and wounded two others in a drive-by shooting at an army checkpoint in the mainly Sunni district of Radwaniya on the southwestern outskirts of Baghdad, officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information.

will not be displayed