Clashes kill 62 al-Qaeda militants in Iraq: Militia leader
KIRKUK - Agence France-Presse
A picture taken with a mobile phone on Jan. 3 shows people in a street with empty bullets on the groud following fighting between Islamist jihadists and Iraqi special forces in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad. AFP photoIraqi security forces and allied tribesmen killed 62 al-Qaeda-linked militants in the Ramadi area west of Baghdad on Jan. 3, a senior leader of the Sahwa militia told AFP.
Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha said 16 members of the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group were killed in Khaldiyah, east of Ramadi, while 46 more died in the city itself.
ISIL militants took control of areas of both Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, and Fallujah, another city farther east, during days of fighting that broke out after security forces demolished the country's main Sunni Arab anti-government protest camp.
Clashes erupted in the Ramadi area on Dec. 31 as security forces tore down the sprawling anti-government protest camp on a nearby highway.
The violence then spread to Fallujah, and a subsequent withdrawal of security forces from areas of both cities cleared the way for ISIL to move in.
The Sahwa are made up of fighters who joined forces with the United States from late 2006, battling Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Anbar and elsewhere and helping to bring about a sharp reduction in violence.