( dpa ) - Three members of a Sunni Arab tribal force allied with the US were wounded Sunday in a suicide bombing in Kirkuk in northern Iraq, an attack that seems to be part of a campaign of violence targeting tribal forces fighting al-Qaeda terrorists.
The car-bomb attacker hit a patrol of the tribal force Sunday morning on the main road linking Hawija and Abasi, south-west of Kirkuk, police told the Voices of Iraq news agency.
Many of the local tribal groups, known as the Awakening Councils, are former insurgents. They are recruited and funded by the US military mainly in Iraq's Sunni Arab areas to fight Islamic extremists.
Violence targeting their members has increased. The leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, Osama bin Laden, has recently called on his followers in Iraq to step up attacks on members of the Awakening Councils.
The tribal forces have brought calm to many restive areas, such as the Sunni-dominated Anbar, but friction between them and local governments is emerging.
In Diyala province, north-east of Baghdad, 300 members of the local tribal force left their outposts on Saturday.
They are protesting the "sectarian" policy of Staff General Ghanim al-Quraishi, the province's Shiite police commander, whom they accuse of being a member of the Shiite al-Mahdi Army militia, headed by the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, according to media reports.
Tension has been reported in Anbar where members of the tribal forces are at odds with the local government run by the Iraqi Islamic Party over control of the provincial council.