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Checkpoint attacks leave 9 dead in Iraq

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
  • NEW: Attacks on Awakening checkpoints, Falluja police leave 9 dead
  • A roadside bomb killed an Awakening leader responding to the first attack
  • Awakening Council members have been a frequent target in Iraq
  • Iraq
  • Awakening Council

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Gunmen attacked two checkpoints manned by members of Iraq's Awakening movement in towns north of Baghdad on Thursday, killing a local leader of the movement and seven other people, Iraqi police said.

Another attack killed a police officer in Falluja, west of the capital late Thursday, police there told CNN. But most of the dead were in Dali Abbas, a village about 100 km (63 miles) north of Baghdad.

Police said the attackers killed four men at an Awakening Council checkpoint in Dali Abbas, prompting the local Awakening leader, Ali Qader Ameen, to rush to the scene with three other members. Before Ameen reached the site of the attack, a roadside bomb exploded, killing him and another occupant and wounding the other two men, police said.

The Awakening Councils, also known as the Sons of Iraq, are mainly made up of Sunni Arab fighters who turned on al Qaeda in Iraq in late 2006. The U.S.-backed movement was credited for being one of the main factors that contributed to the drop in violence across Iraq since then, but they have become a frequent target of the remaining jihadists.

Dali Abbas is in Diyala province in northeastern Iraq. Another attack happened Thursday night in neighboring Salaheddin province, leaving two Sons of Iraq members shot to death and four others wounded at a checkpoint in the town of Shiaqt, police said.

Shiraqt is about 300 km (187.5 miles) north of Baghdad.

And in the city of Falluja, west of Baghdad, a police officer died and six people, including two other officers, were wounded when a roadside bomb went off at a police checkpoint in the central neighborhood of Jolan. No further details were immediately available.

Diyala, Salaheddin and Falluja were insurgent hotbeds during the insurgency that ravaged Iraq after the U.S. invasion in 2003. U.S. and Iraqi forces had to retake Falluja from insurgents in 2004 in a weeklong battle.