09/13/2007, 00.00
IRAQ
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Anti-al-Qaeda Sunni tribal leader killed, cited by Petraeus as an example

In the past year he had organised a tribal alliance that pushed terrorists out of western Iraq. Last week he had met US President Bush.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, a key leader of an alliance of Sunni Arab tribes that was instrumental in pushing al-Qaeda out of Iraq's western Anbar province, was killed in a blast near his home in Anbar’s capital of Ramadi. Two bodyguards and Abu Risha's private secretary were also killed.

The sheikh was mentioned by US military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, in his report to congress when he highlighted Sunni-US co-operation. Last year Abu Risha set up an alliance of local tribal sheikhs to fight al-Qaeda in the desert region of western Iraq.

Until 2006, Anbar province was the heartland of the Sunni Arab insurgency and the most dangerous part of Iraq.

Last week Abu Risha had met US President George W. Bush when the American leader made an unannounced visit to the desert region.

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