Slaying of sheik, kin seen as warning to Iraq’s Sunnis

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Some insurgent groups have declared a boycott of the election and have threatened politicians who participate. Police said they suspected the sheik’s death was designed as a warning to Sunni Arabs against heeding the U.S. call. However, the Association of Muslim Scholars, a hard-line Sunni organization believed to have links to insurgents, condemned the slayings and linked them to what many fear is a campaign against Sunnis by the Shiite-led government security services. “We warn the government against continuing with this tyranny,” association spokesman Abdul Salam al-Kubaisi said. The Iraqi Islamic Party, the country’s biggest Sunni political group, also condemned the assassination and demanded that the Defense Ministry “control its forces and punish the perpetrators.” Police Maj. Falah al-Mohammedawi denied that government forces were involved in the killings and blamed the insurgents. “Surely, they are outlaw insurgents. As for the military uniform, they can be bought from many shops in Baghdad,” he said, adding that several police and army vehicles had been stolen and could be used in raids. The United States hopes that a big Sunni turnout next month will produce a broad-based government that can win the minority’s trust, helping to take the steam out of the Sunni-led insurgency and hasten the day when American and other foreign troops can go home. Many Sunnis, make up about 20 percent of Iraq’s 27 million people but were dominant under Saddam Hussein, boycotted the January election, enabling rival Shiites and Kurds to dominate the transitional government, a development that heightened tensions. At the same time, U.S. military commanders have warned that insurgents will probably escalate attacks in hopes of undermining the election. In other election-related violence, gunmen blocked the road leading to the Communist Party’s branch office in Baghdad’s Shiite district of Sadr City, broke into the party building late Tuesday and killed two activists. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BAGHDAD, Iraq – Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms burst into the home of a Sunni Arab sheik Wednesday, killing him, three of his sons and a son-in-law in an attack police said may have been aimed at discouraging members of the minority from participating in next month’s election. Khadim Sarhid al-Hemaiyem, who lived on the outskirts of Baghdad, was the leader of a branch of the Dulaimi tribe, one of the biggest in Iraq. His brother is a candidate in the Dec. 15 parliamentary election, three of his sons had been policemen and another son was slain last month north of the capital, police and family members said. Elsewhere, an American soldier from Task Force Baghdad died of a gunshot wound Wednesday in the center of the capital, the U.S. military said. At least 2,108 U.S. service members have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to the Department of Defense. The brutal attack on the sheik and his family took place amid a major campaign by U.S. and Iraqi authorities to encourage Sunni Arabs to vote next month in hopes of luring them away from the insurgency. last_img

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Comments