Five killed as Iraqi forces clash with Shiite militia

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Date: 28 August 2006

NAJAF, Iraq, Aug 28, 2006 (AFP) - Iraqi security forces fought deadly
clashes overnight with a rogue Shiite militia in the town of Diwaniyah south
of Baghdad, local officials said Monday.

Initial reports put the death toll at three civilians and two militia
fighters, a security source said. There was no word on how many police or
soldiers had been killed.

Local leaders said the militiamen were operating independently from radical
cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, after rejecting a call from their
leader for them to take part in Iraq's political peace process.

"What is going on is an attempt by the government to get rid of an element
which is trying to disturb the security of the town," said Abdumunaam Abu
Tibikh, a member of Qadisiyah provincial council, of which Diwaniyah is the

Abu Tibikh said militia fighters in the city had been ordered by Sadr to set
aside their guns and to convert their office into a centre for religious and
cultural activities, but that they had refused to do so.

"These elements have triggered riots and carry weapons in the city, which
has led the government to deploy army and the police against them," he said.

The head of Sadr's office in the city, Abu Assen Naili, confirmed that there
had been fighting, but accused the army of attacking three residential