Monday, June 25, 2007

Bomber evades tight security to kill sheiks called US allies, but Iraqi group says they were outcasts 'because they did not continue working with us'

Left: The Al Mansour Hotel.

Bombing Strikes at Iraqi Sheiks Allied to U.S.

More than 40 people died today in a wave of suicide bombings across Iraq, including an attack on a hotel in Baghdad where a group of sheiks opposed to Al Qaeda was holding a tribal conference.

The bombing at the Mansour Hotel, which is also headquarters to several news organizations, killed 12 people and wounded 18. Members of Anbar Awakening, a group of Sunni tribal leaders and former insurgents opposed to Al Qaeda, were meeting at the hotel at the time of the explosion. The group has joined forces with police units backed by the United States to fight Al Qaeda, prompting a power struggle in the region...

Despite heavy security at the hotel, the suicide bomber, wearing traditional Arab dress, was able to enter the lobby and blow himself up there. Bodies of the dead and wounded were scattered across the lobby, which was strewn with broken glass.

Read the rest at the NY Times

Iraq Bomber Strikes U.S.-Allied Sheiks

The sheiks were associated with the Anbar Salvation Council, which had taken up arms to help drive extremists of al-Qaida in Iraq from the western province of Anbar...

He identified four tribal leaders killed as former Anbar governor Fassal al-Guood, sheik of the al-Bu Nimir tribe, Sheik Abdul-Azizi al-Fahdawi of the Fahad tribe, Sheik Tariq Saleh al-Assafi and Col. Fadil al-Nimrawi, both of the al-Bu Nimr tribe. Three of al-Guood's guards also were killed, the police officer said.

"It was a great breach of security because there are three checkpoints, one outside and two inside," said Saif al-Rubaie, a 28-year-old hotel worker who saw the blast.

After the blast, a member of the Anbar Salvation Council said in the provincial capital of Ramadi that the sheiks meeting at the Mansour Hotel had been dropped from the council "because they did not continue working with us." He said they had been meeting secretly with government officials, about unspecified matters.

Read the rest at the Journal Gazette

Deadly blast hits Iraq peace talks

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside a busy central Baghdad hotel, killing at least 12 people -- most of them Sunni and Shiite tribal leaders who were meeting as part of Iraq's reconciliation effort -- U.S. and Iraqi officials told CNN...

Video showed the lobby was gutted by the blast. Fragments of the ceiling dangled like threads amid exposed wires. Several bodies were covered by blankets on the debris-strewn floor.

The blast killed seven tribal leaders -- five Sunnis and two Shiites -- and two of their bodyguards, the ministry official said. It also killed Rahim al-Maliki, an anchorman with Iraqiya state television, the official said.

Read the rest at CNN

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