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Iraq: Gunmen kill seven Iraqi militiamen


Gunmen shot dead seven Iraqi government-backed militiamen and wounded one at a checkpoint they were manning northeast of Baghdad on Friday, officials said.

The attack took place in the village of Halaiwat, near the disputed town of Tuz Khurmatu, at about 2:00am, a police officer said.

Gunmen dressed in military uniforms gathered the militiamen known as Sahwa, or Awakening from the area then shot them, the officer said, adding that one survived but was in critical condition.

A doctor from Tuz Khurmatu hospital confirmed the toll.

The Sahwa are made up of Sunni Arab tribesmen who joined forces with the US occupation from late 2006. They fought against al-Qaeda.

The Iraqi government announced at the end of January that about 41,000 Sahwa fighters are to receive 500,000 Iraqi dinars ($415) a month, up from 300,000 dinars ($250).

The violence comes one day after suicide attacks on checkpoints in Iraq's northern city of Mosul killed three policemen late on Thursday.

(AFP, Reuters)

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