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Two blasts target Iraqi tribal leader, son killed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Four people, including the son of an anti-al Qaeda tribal leader, were killed in an insurgent attack on the chief’s home on Tuesday just west of Baghdad, a provincial official and relatives said.

Smoke rises from a burning oil pipeline after a roadside bomb attack in Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad , March 26, 2007. Picture taken March 26, 2007. REUTERS/Nuhad Hussin

Ahmed al-Dulaimi, the head of Anbar’s provincial council media office, told Reuters two suicide car bombers targeted Sheikh Thahir al-Dari’s home.

However, a relative of the sheikh, who is a member of a group of tribes who have formed an alliance against al Qaeda, said the son was killed when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the car he was in. Another person was wounded in the car.

Relatives blamed al Qaeda for the attack.

Dari is the head of the al-Zobaie tribe, to which Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zobaie belongs. The deputy prime minister was the target of an assassination bid last week.

Dari’s dead son, Harith al-Dari, is the nephew of his namesake who leads the Sunni Muslim Scholars’ Association, an influential body of hardline clerics. The cleric has spoken out against the anti-Qaeda alliance that includes his own tribe.

Al Qaeda’s adherence to a radical form of Sunni Islam and indiscriminate killings have brought it into conflict with some Sunni tribes in Anbar.

Suicide bombers have targeted a number of tribal leaders in the anti-Qaeda alliance amid a growing struggle in Anbar between the militant group and tribes who oppose it.

Zobaie was wounded in last week’s attack at his compound in Baghdad. An aide said that suicide bomber was one of his own guards and that the tribe was itself divided between those loyal to the government and those supporting al Qaeda.

Zobaie’s office said on Tuesday he had recovered and might be discharged from the U.S. military hospital later in the day.

Outgoing U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said on Monday U.S. and Iraqi officials had held contacts with Sunni Arab insurgent groups to build an alliance against al Qaeda.

Additional reporting by Mussab Al-Khairalla