Thursday, August 23, 2007

Report: Dozens killed, 15 women and children kidnapped in fierce attack by 200 al-Qaeda fighters on two villages in Diyala province

Above: 'Former' Sunni insurgents from the 1920s Revolution Brigade cross a river in cooperation with U.S. forces during operation 'Arrowhead Ripper' in Diyala province in July.

Al Qaeda fighters kidnapped 15 Iraqi women and children after attacking two villages north of Baghdad and killing a local religious leader who had been trying to form an anti-al Qaeda tribal alliance, police said.

Police said 32 people were killed in an hour-long battle between al Qaeda and residents. The attackers, who struck just after dawn, dragged the imam of the local mosque, Younis Abd Hameed, and three worshippers outside and executed them.

Residents said the local fighters were loyal to the Sunni Arab insurgent group the 1920 Revolution Brigade, which has increasingly clashed with al Qaeda, and had repelled the attack...

Brigadier-General Ali Delayan, the police chief of Baquba, the provincial capital of Diyala, said Hameed had been trying to form a local council of tribal leaders opposed to al Qaeda and aligned to the 1920 Revolution Brigade.

About 200 al Qaeda fighters raided the villages of Sheikh Tamim and Ibrahim Yehia early on Thursday after launching a mortar attack on the area, police said.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet