A suicide bomber assassinated a key leader of American-backed militia forces in a Sunni stronghold of Baghdad on Monday morning, the latest attack on nationalist Sunnis who have recently allied themselves with American troops. That attack, and a second bomb that exploded minutes later, killed at least six and wounded another 26 in total, hospital officials said.
The killing of the militia leader, Col. Riyadh al-Samarrai, on the fringes of north Baghdad’s Adhamiyah district, was one of the most significant attacks so far on leaders of former Sunni insurgents who have banded into militias, known as Awakening groups, to fight extremist militants.
Colonel Samarrai was one of the leaders of the Sunni Awakening movement in Adhamiyah, and was also a close aide and a security adviser to the head of the Sunni Endowment, which oversees Iraq’s Sunni mosques and is one of the most powerful Sunni institutions in Iraq. [complete article]