Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The funeral of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, leader of an Iraqi Sunni alliance against Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organisation was transformed into an anti al Qaeda protest. The leader had been collaborating with US forces against the terror group, when a car bomb in Ramadi, chief town in Anbar province, killed him. Today in an internet message al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.
More than 1,500 mourners attended the funeral in Ramadi. Iraq's national security adviser, interior minister and defence minister all attended the funeral under heavy security, along with the second-in-command of US forces in Iraq, Lt-Gen Raymond Odierno. Mourners chanted "We will take our revenge" and "There is no God but Allah and al-Qaeda is the enemy of Allah" as the procession continued to the family cemetery.
Sheikh Rashid Majid, a leader of the al-Bufahad tribe in Ramadi, said: "The killing will give us more energy... to continue confronting al-Qaeda members and to dispose of them”.
Risha was a key player in the operation Anbar Awakening, an alliance of clans that sided with US forces and the Iraqi government in order to try to reclaim Anbar province from al-Qaeda. Anbar was once controlled by the insurgents, and was where they declared an "Islamic State of Iraq".It was one of the deadliest parts of Iraq for US troops. But the tribal alliance managed to force the insurgents back and reduce violence