Al Qaeda claims it killed Iraqi Sunni tribal leader

By Xinhua

Cairo : An Al Qaeda group in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the killing of an Iraqi Sunni tribal leader, al-Jazeera TV channel reported.

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The report said that the self-styled Islamic group Friday called the killing of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha a “heroic operation”. Its statement could not be authenticated, but it was posted on a main Islamist web site.

The Sunni tribal leader Abu Risha, who was backed by the US and Iraqi governments to fight the Al Qaeda network in Iraq, was killed in a roadside bomb attack Thursday.

The roadside bomb detonated near Abu Risha’s home in Ramadi City, the capital of Anbar province, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The blast killed Abu Risha, his aide and two of his bodyguards, according to the source.

As the head of the Anbar Awakened Council, an alliance of Sunni tribes in Iraq’s western Anbar province, Abu Risha had converted it to a force fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Last week, Abu Risha attended a meeting with US President George W. Bush and Iraqi officials in Anbar province during Bush’s surprise visit to a US military base.

Sunni Arab leaders and US forces in Anbar province vowed to keep fighting Al Qaeda during Abu Risha’s funeral.