Gunmen storm Iraqi militiaman's home, kill 5

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 28, 2011 8:29 AM
Gunmen storm Iraqi militiaman's home, kill 5

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms stormed the home of a Sahwa militiaman and killed five members of his family on Wednesday, police sources said, in the latest attack on the Sunni fighters who supported Iraq's battle against al Qaeda.

The attackers killed the man's wife, daughter, two of his sons and another relative, and wounded seven other relatives in Abu Ghraib on the western outskirts of Baghdad, one source said.

Members of the Sahwa militia have been frequent targets of attack as Sunni Islamist al Qaeda tries to regain a grip on former strongholds and destabilize the Shi'ite-led government before U.S. troops depart at the end of the year.

"They stormed the house and shot randomly at the family while they were sleeping," said a police source at the hospital in Abu Ghraib, adding the Sahwa fighter was not at home during the attack.

Another police source said the target was a former Sahwa fighter who was home at the time and was wounded.

The Sahwa, recruited mainly from Iraq's Sunni Arab minority and including former insurgents who turned against al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate, are credited with helping turn the tide of the sectarian warfare that gripped Iraq in 2006-07.

In August, al Qaeda asked the ex-fighters who joined forces with the U.S. military and the Shi'ite-led government to return to its ranks, threatening to attack those who did not "repent.

Violence has declined sharply in Iraq since the peak of the sectarian conflict but bombings and other attacks still occur daily, more than eight years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

(Reporting by Fadhel al-Badrani in Falluja, writing by Aseel Kami; Editing by Janet Lawrence)