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Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 18:39 UK

Sunni militia leader held in Iraq

Awakening militia members on patrol in Baghdad
The Awakening militias have been credited with helping reduce violence

The head of a leading US-allied Sunni militia group in Iraq has been arrested in a joint Iraqi-US operation.

Nadhim al-Jubouri and his two brothers were arrested at their home in the town of Dhuliuya "under the charge of terrorism", the US military says.

Nadhim al-Jubouri is a leader in the Awakening Councils, US-sponsored groups that helped cut violence in Iraq after turning against al-Qaeda.

The charges reportedly date back to when he was fighting against the US.

Iraq's Shia-dominated government took over responsibility for supervising the mainly Sunni Awakening militias from the US military on 1 April.

Many of the Awakening members had been fighting against the Americans but joined forces with them in 2006 to take on al-Qaeda.

Awakening leaders have complained that they have been subjected to growing attacks from insurgents recently and that the government is falling behind in paying their salaries.

Mr al-Jubouri's arrest is the latest in a number of recent detentions of Awakening members.

'Charge of terrorism'

"Members of the Iraq National Police with coalition advisors arrested three individuals," Derrick Cheng, a U.S. military spokesman in northern Iraq, said, Reuters news agency reports.

Victim of a bomb attack on Awakening militia in April.e suicide bomb at a hospital in Hilla.
Last month nine people were killed in an attack on an Awakening militia

He said the police had warrants for Mr al-Jubouri and his brothers "under the charge of terrorism".

The deputy governor of the province of Salahuddin said that local people had brought charges against Mr al-Jubouri for the murder of their relatives at a time when he was fighting with al-Qaeda, Reuters reports.

Last month a suicide bomber attacked an Awakening militia group in Iraq, killing at least nine people.

In March, the arrest of a leader of one of the councils in Baghdad sparked clashes between militiamen and government forces.



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