Conflict & Justice

Iraq: 10 policemen kidnapped west of Baghdad amid clashes


Iraqis carry in Basra on May 17, 2013, the coffin of a Shi'ite fighter killed in neighbouring Syria fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces.



Suspected Sunni militants kidnapped 10 policemen on a desert road west of Baghdad on Saturday amid deadly clashes between tribesmen and security forces in Anbar province.

Police said at least another 15 people were killed in Baghdad and in Anbar provinces in what CNN said appeared to be a continuation of sectarian violence over the past few weeks.

That includes at least four armed tribesmen that were killed east of Falluja as security forces attempted to arrest Mohammed Khamis Abu Risha, wanted in connection with the slayings of five soldiers, AFP reported.

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Hundreds of gunmen gathered near the main entrance to the Anbar Operations Command headquarters north of Ramadi on Saturday, a police captain told AFP.

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Sunni-Shia tensions have amped up in recent weeks amid conflict between Sunni rebels and President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite-dominated forces in neighboring Syria.

The Sunnis accuse the government of marginalizing them, and claimed the Shia-dominated Iraqi security forces were indiscriminately arresting their sons and torturing them.

While the government has made some concessions, such as freeing prisoners and raising the salaries of Sunni anti-Al-Qaeda fighters, it has not addressed underlying issues.

The recent clashes are raising fears of a return to the all-out sectarian conflict that ravaged Iraq from 2006 to 2008.