5 die, lawmaker arrested in crackdown on Sunni area in Iraq

Photo: 5 die, lawmaker arrested in crackdown on Sunni area in Iraq / Iraq

Five people were killed Saturday in clashes that erupted when Iraqi security forces raided a house of a lawmaker in the volatile western province of Anbar, the independent broadcaster Alsumaria News reported.

The dead included the brother of parliamentarian Ahmed al-Alwani, who was arrested after the raid on suspicion of assisting anti-government Sunni insurgents, the report said, citing an unnamed security official, dpa reported.

Security troops last week launched a massive campaign in the mainly Sunni province after 16 military personnel, including a senior commander, were killed in an attack by militants with suspected al-Qaeda links.

Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has dubbed the campaign "Revenge for Commander Mohammed," referring to Major General Mohammed al-Karawi, who was killed in the December 21 attack.

A sharp increase in attacks in recent months has raised the prospect of a return to the sectarian violence that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

According to UN estimates, 659 people were killed in attacks in Iraq in November.

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