Thursday, December 20, 2007

Volunteers to fight al-Qaeda targeted in Iraq blast

"Thirteen people were killed today when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest at a recruitment post for volunteers wanting to fight extremists in Iraq.

American troops may also have been caught up in the blast that rocked the majority Shia Arab town of Kanaan, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, according to Iraqi police. US military spokesman confirmed that a suicide attack had taken place but was unable to provide further details immediately.

Iraqi police said that all of the dead were volunteers to a local Awakening group, an initiative supported by the US military that enables disenchanted Iraqis to oppose the perpetrators of suicide bombings and sectarian slaughters who have thrived in the aftermath of the invasion.

Paid each month by US troops and allowed to carry a weapon, these largely Sunni Arab movements have taken charge of grassroots security in their neighbourhood, becoming one of the key factors that have helped to produce a 60 percent drop in attacks in Iraq since June.

Such patrols, however, are prime targets for insurgents who are still trying to derail the Government and force US-led troops to leave the country......."

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