Page last updated at 13:49 GMT, Sunday, 10 May 2009 14:49 UK

Iraq bomb kills Sunni militiaman


A leading figure in a US-allied Sunni militia has been killed by a roadside bomb in Taji, north of Baghdad, Iraqi police say.

Abed al-Khairiya was a senior member of the militia, or Awakening Council, in the town.

It is not clear who was behind the attack, which happened on Saturday.

The Sunni Arab Awakening Councils, which are sponsored by the US military, are opposed by Sunni insurgent groups, including al-Qaeda in Iraq.

There is also tension with the Shia-dominated special police.

Taji lies about 20 km (12 miles) north of the Iraqi capital.

It was controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militants until late 2006, when local Sunni tribes allied themselves with the US to drive the fighters out.

The Awakening Councils have played a key role in preventing militants from operating in parts of Iraq.

But correspondents say there is considerable doubt about their future, particularly over how they will work with the Iraqi government and the formal security services.

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