Eleven tribal leaders who had banded with U.S. troops to fight the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq were kidnapped Sunday morning, the latest in a string of such attacks, fellow tribesmen said.
The Shiite and Sunni sheiks, members of the al-Salam Support Council, a group fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq in volatile Diyala province, were taken from their cars by gunmen as they were returning home from a meeting in Baghdad with a government official, the tribesmen said.
Hadi al-Anbaki, a spokesman for the mostly Shiite council, said the attack was carried out by the Mahdi Army, a militia controlled by the anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. “This was an ambush,” Anbaki said.
The kidnapping highlighted the complex and quickly shifting nature of the bloodshed convulsing Iraq, with Shiite and Sunni groups increasingly targeting members of their own sects who align themselves with U.S. forces. [complete article]