Iraq: Revenge sought in sheik's death

Updated: 2007-09-14 20:02

"We condemn the killing of Abu Risha, but this will not deter us from helping the people of Anbar - we will support them more than before," al-Rubaie declared. "It is a national disaster and a great loss for the Iraqi people - Abu Risha was the only person to confront al-Qaida in Anbar."

In scattered violence around Iraq on Friday, a suicide truck bomb hit a police checkpoint near Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad, killing four policemen and wounding five others, a Beiji police officer said.

South of Baghdad, unidentified gunmen killed three farmers who had been taking their turn guarding a village about 20 miles in a drive-by shooting at 5 am, police said.

Farther south in the city of Hillah, gunmen attacked the home of Col. Hussein Ali Hassoon al Khafaji, an Iraqi army battalion commander, killing a guard and wounding another, police said.

In a helicopter assault mission west of Baghdad, three suspected insurgents were killed and three American soldiers were injured, the US command said.

Iraqi soldiers led the raid Thursday on a mosque in Karmah, a town in Iraq's western Anbar province some 50 miles west of the capital, the US military said in a statement. The target was a high-ranking al-Qaida in Iraq leader, believed to be responsible for orchestrating murders, sniper attacks and the planting of roadside bombs.

During the operation, people fleeing the mosque fired at American troops - wounding three of them with non-life threatening injuries. US and Iraqi forces retaliated with ground fire and close air support, killing three suspected insurgents, the military said.

The military statement did not say whether the targeted al-Qaida figure was among the dead.

Troops also discovered four rockets, roadside bomb-making materials and 50-caliber ammunition rounds inside the mosque, the statement said.

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