Twenty die in Sunni infighting in Iraq
* US military releases 1,000 prisoners Abu Ghraib
RAMADI: Two Sunni Arab tribes, one loyal to Al Qaeda and the other to the government, clashed in western Iraq, killing at least 20 people and wounding scores, clerics and hospital officials said on Saturday.
The tribes fought months ago and violent confrontations erupted again on Friday and Saturday near Qaim. Clerics in the town say members of the Karabilah tribe - allied to Al Qaeda - attacked homes of the rival Albu-Mehel tribe - many of whom are members of Iraq’s new security forces in their province of Anbar. Witnesses said the tribes were involved in intense firefights and mortar attacks in the streets.
Hospital officials say they have received 20 bodies in the past day but that the death toll is likely to be much higher.
Meanwhile, the US military said it had freed 1,000 detainees from Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison at the Baghdad government’s request.
It was not clear if the decision was linked to a demand by Sunnis negotiating the writing of a draft constitution that authorities release Sunni prisoners so they can participate in a referendum and elections later this year. Moreover, unidentified gunmen killed a colonel in the new Iraqi army on Saturday as he was driving to work, police said.
Lt Col Mohammed Salih, a logistics officer in Kirkuk garrison, was attacked soon after leaving his home in the Al-Orouba, said police Brig Sarhad Qadir.
Police also said that one suspected insurgent died and another was injured on Saturday in the city when a bomb they were apparently preparing went off prematurely. The blast occurred at midday in the southern neighbourhood of al-Quds, Qadir said. agencies