Iraq police: 6 killed near Al-Qaeda stronghold

April 6, 2011 - 0:0

BAGHDAD (AP)– Gunmen killed six people sleeping in their home in an area south of Baghdad that remains an Al-Qaeda stronghold, Iraqi police said Tuesday.

Two officials said the gunmen fled without being captured late Monday after shooting members of two families who were living together in the town of Youssifiyah, 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Baghdad.
Youssifiyah has long been a haven for Al-Qaeda militants who target the security forces whom they consider traitors.
One Interior Ministry official said the dead included a local policeman and a member of the Sahwa, or Sons of Iraq — the Sunni militia that battled Al-Qaeda at the peak of the war.
A victim's neighbor in Youssifiyah, who declined to give his name out of fear, said it was more likely that the gunmen targeted one of the families that was trying to have criminal charges brought in a legal case of their father's 2006 shooting death.
Violence has dropped dramatically from just a few years ago when widespread sectarian killings brought the country to the brink of civil war. But deadly shootings and bombings still occur every day.
Early Tuesday, an Iraqi army patrol hit a roadside bomb near the northeast Iraqi city of Kirkuk, killing one soldier and wounding two others, said Capt. Ahmed Salih.
Meanwhile, an American soldier died Monday in a noncombat incident in central Iraq, the U.S. military said. It was the fourth American soldier to die in Iraq in three days. The latest fatality raises to at least 4,445 the number of U.S. military personnel who have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.