Sunni protest camp under seige by Iraqi police force
December 31, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
RAMADI, Iraq--Fighting broke out when Iraqi police moved to dismantle a Sunni Muslim protest camp in the western Anbar province on Monday, killing at least 13 people, police and medical sources said.
The camp has been an irritant to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite Muslim-led government since Sunni protesters set it up a year ago to demonstrate against what they see as marginalization of their sect.
Maliki, who is seeking a third term in April elections, has repeatedly vowed to remove the camp and accused protesters of stirring strife and sheltering al-Qaida-linked militants.
Police sources said the clashes broke out when gunmen opened fire on police special forces trying to enter Ramadi, the western city where the protest camp is located.
Gunshots and blasts were heard in parts of the city. The gunmen destroyed four police vehicles and killed at least three policemen in the north of Ramadi, one source said.
The bodies of 10 other people killed in the clashes were brought into Ramadi's morgue, hospital and morgue sources told Reuters