Sunni cleric shot dead in Iraq.
Police said they had no idea why he was killed and were not immediately sure if al Qaeda's Iraqi offshoots might have been involved. The sprawling desert province of Anbar was once the heartland of a fierce Sunni Islamist insurgency after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and in the grip of al Qaeda. But local Sunni tribal chiefs turned on al Qaeda in 2006 and 2007, helping U.S. forces bring relative peace to the region. Sectarian tensions have flared, however, since the March election, which has yet to result in a new government. A Sunni-backed alliance won a slim victory in the vote but a union of the main Shiite-led factions is expected to take the lead in the tussle to form a coalition government. Insurgent groups have sought to exploit the political vacuum since the election through violence. Al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate claimed responsibility for brazen suicide assaults on the Iraqi central bank and the Trade Bank of Iraq last month, and police in Anbar and elsewhere have come under constant attack, Reuters reported.
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|Publication:||The Weekly Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)|
|Date:||Jul 3, 2010|
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