44 Iraqi MPs resign in protest at Anbar dispersal

Tribesmen in the Anbar province have been holding protests against PM Nouri al-Maliki's government.

44 Iraqi MPs resign in protest at Anbar dispersal

World Bulletin / News Desk

Forty-four Iraqi lawmakers resigned on Monday in protest at the violent dispersal by security forces of a sit-in staged in the western Anbar province against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"The military operation serves Maliki's personal interests," Dhafer al-Ani, the spokesman for Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi's Motahedoun (United) coalition, told a press conference.

On Monday, Iraqi police and army troops dismantled a sit-in staged by anti-government Sunni Muslims, triggering fierce clashes between troops and tribesmen.

Twelve people were killed and injured in clashes between army forces and armed men in Ramadi, the capital city of Anbar.

In Fallujah, a major city of Anbar, seven civilians, including a woman and a child, were also killed in clashes between armed tribesmen and government forces.

Saleh al-Essawi, deputy head of Anbar's provincial council, told AA Sunday that Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi had met with council members, local tribal chieftains and sit-in organizers.

According to al-Essawi, the two sides agreed on the release of Anbar lawmaker Ahmed al-Alwani, who was detained by Iraqi authorities on Saturday during a deadly raid on his Ramadi home.

The two sides also agreed to dismantle a number of tents erected by protesters near the province's international road, provided they were dismantled by local police rather than army personnel.

Since last December, Iraqi Sunni Muslims have staged sit-ins in several provinces, including Anbar, to denounce perceived anti-Sunni discrimination by the al-Maliki government.

Fresh clashes in Falluja

Clashes erupted in the early hours of Tuesday between Iraqi troops and tribesmen in the western city of Fallujah, a tribal source said.

The clashes, which were still ongoing as of 6:55am GMT, featured the use of light, medium and heavy weapons by both sides, the source said.

Meanwhile, a security source told Anadolu Agency that four mortar shells had fallen on an army base in Ramadi, capital of the western Anbar province, causing minor damage to buildings.

Iraqi tribesmen control vast swatches of Anbar

Armed tribesmen have seized control of vast swatches of the western Iraqi province of Anbar, a tribal source told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

According to the source, tribesmen provide protection to army troops who give themselves up and move the injured to hospitals.

Meanwhile, government forces withdrew from the highway near the western city of Falluja following five-hour clashes with tribesmen, another trial source said.

The highway is now controlled by tribesmen, who block supplies to the government forces, the source added.

Government officials could not be reached for comment.

The two sides also agreed to dismantle a number of tents erected by protesters near the province's international road, provided they were dismantled by local police rather than army personnel.

Al-Dulaimi said that army units dispatched to Anbar following al-Alwani's arrest would be withdrawn within three days.

Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2013, 10:29
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