Some mourn, but others celebrate death of 'traitor'
Friday 14 September 2007
The death of Sheikh Abu Risha, the charismatic, chain smoking young sheik, has had a huge impact in Iraq as well as the wider Arab world.
There was a sense of shock among many, especially the country's Sunni community. Ali Hatem al-Sulaiman, deputy chief of the province's biggest Sunni tribe, said that if "only one small boy remains alive in Anbar, we will not hand the province over to al-Qa'ida.
But messages were being posted on international jihadist websites exulting at the end of "the traitor and apostate". One called him "one of the biggest pigs of the Crusaders".
The killing took place on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, and on the eve of the first anniversary of the founding of the Anbar Salvation Council, a tribal alliance led by the sheikh, which had been battling al-Qa'ida fighters in the western province with some success. Last night Anbar was under a state of emergency with the routes to Jordan and Syria closed down and US reinforcement on standby to be airlifted to the area.
The attack on the sheikh was followed by a car bombing in Baghdad, the first in the Iraqi capital for more than a week, killing four people and injuring 12 others, leading to fears of an escalation of violence during Ramadan, which has become the norm in Iraq.
According to Iraqi sources, Sheikh Abu Risha told associates he would spend Ramadan in Jordan, where the import export business run by his family had offices. This may have given his enemies an opportunity to plan the bombing.
According to the American military, violent incidents in Anbar have fallen in the last month. However Abu Risha and his tribal allies had survived several previous assassinations attempts. In June, a suicide bomber assassinated four Sunni sheikhs who were cooperating with Americans in Anbar, detonating an explosive belt as they gathered inside a large Baghdad hotel.
The following month a suicide truck bombing at Taji, north of Baghdad, again aimed at a meeting of Sunni tribal sheikhs who had agreed to oppose al-Qa'ida, killing five people and wounding 12 others.
One of the sheikh's principal bodyguards, Samir al-Nimrawi, is reported to have received a threat, purportedly from al-Qa'ida, that he would be killed "whatever the Americans try to do to protect him".
Abu Risha's critics accused him of corruption, sectarianism and using government money to run his own private army.
Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
LAPD releases haunting crime scene photos from its archives
Peaches Geldof funeral: Bob Geldof leads tributes at emotional service in same church she married husband Thomas Cohen and mother Paula Yates was buried
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge photographed with Prince George off-duty may spark privacy row
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Concerns grow among search officials that missing jet ‘may have landed somewhere else’
- 1 Revealed: Scientists ‘edit’ DNA to correct adult genes and cure diseases
- 2 David Cameron's constituency office calls police on food bank campaigners Bishop of Oxford and Reverend Keith Hebden
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Women take on Bear Grylls over 'sexist' male-only desert island show
- 5 Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Concerns grow among search officials that missing jet ‘may have landed somewhere else’
£55000 - £62000 per annum + outstanding benefits and bonus: Pro-Recruitment Gr...
£120 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Reception teacher required for an Outs...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + excellent company benefits : Pro-Recruitment Group...
£90 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job We are currently recr...