A leading Iraqi Sunni political bloc said yesterday it is breaking ties with US forces in the former rebel bastion of Fallujah after troops killed one of its members. But the American military said US and Iraqi troops killed an armed man who fired on them during an operation to arrest a suspected "terrorist" on Friday. The Iraqi Islamic Party, headed by Iraq's Sunni vice president, Tareq al Hashemi, said troops raided the house of one of their members and during the raid a party member was killed and five others arrested.
Following the incident, "Iraqi Islamic Party has decided to suspend all ties with the American military and civil personnel until it receives an apology," the party said in a statement. It said the incident occurred in western Fallujah late night Friday. Yesterday, the supporters of the party protested in Fallujah and demanded the release of the five arrested members, a reporter said. In a statement the US military said Iraqi and US forces arrested a suspected militant leader from Hamas al Iraq group following a warrant issued by the interior ministry.
It said the suspect is said to be responsible for training groups in manufacturing and planting of bombs. As Iraqi and coalition forces, who assisted in the operation, entered the home of the suspect they came under fire from an armed man within the house, the military statement said. They returned fire and killed the man who was later believed to be a bodyguard of the suspect, it said, adding only the suspect had been arrested.
Troops also confiscated a cache of homemade explosives, detonation cord and blasting caps in the room where they arrested the suspected militant, the statement added. *AFP