BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s biggest Sunni Arab political party suspended all dealings with U.S. civilian and military personnel on Saturday after U.S. and Iraqi forces carried out a raid in which a man was killed.
The incident could increase tension in a part of Iraq that was once the heartland of the insurgency against U.S. forces but has become among the quietest parts of the country over the past two years.
U.S. forces said one man had been arrested and one had been killed in a joint U.S.-Iraqi raid against a suspected militant on Friday in the town of Falluja.
The Iraqi Islamic Party, headed by Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, said the targets of the raid were senior party officials. Five people had been detained and one killed “in his bed,” it said in a statement.
A Reuters reporter in Falluja said several hundred supporters of the Islamic Party demonstrated against the raid on Saturday.
Falluja, in Anbar province west of the capital, was the scene of the war’s two heaviest battles between U.S. forces and Sunni insurgents in 2004, but has become quiet after tribes began cooperating with American troops in late 2006.
The Islamic Party said it would suspend all communication with U.S. personnel until it got “a convincing explanation of what happened, accompanied by an official apology stressing that those who committed these attacks are turned over to justice.”
Hashemi, Iraq’s most senior Sunni Arab official, sent a letter to the dead man’s tribe condemning the raid.
“I was shocked by the painful incident,” he wrote. “I share with you the sadness over the loss of the brother martyr Sajid Yasseen Hameed al-Alwani, and I will put all my effort into releasing the innocent brother detainees.”
Reporting by Waleed Ibrahim; writing by Peter Graff; editing by Andrew Roche