Iraqi Sunnis, Shias unite against Qaeda
Date of Publication : Sunday 5 January 2014 16:01
Iraqi Sunni tribesmen have joined the army in the fight against al-Qaeda-linked militants in the western province of al-Anbar.
The leaders of Sunni tribes have reached an agreement with the Iraqi government to help the army drive the militants out of the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.
The cooperation between Sunni groups and the Iraqi government comes despite Western attempts to incite sectarian divisions in the country.
The cities of Fallujah and Ramadi have been the scene of deadly clashes between security forces and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants over the past days.
The fighting left more than 100 people dead in the two flashpoint cities on Friday, security officials said.
The violence broke out on December 30, 2013, when the army removed an anti-government protest camp in Ramadi. Authorities said the camp was used as "headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda."
However, the move prompted 44 Iraqi lawmakers to announce their resignation and call for "the withdrawal of the army."
The withdrawal cleared the way for militants from the terrorist group of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which operates in Iraq and Syria.
A senior Iraqi security official in Anbar Province said on Saturday that the government has lost control of Fallujah to the ISIL militants.
The people of Fallujah and Ramadi soon called for the return of the army to the restive cities to restore order.