Gunmen assassinated Nazem al-Juburi, a former al-Qaeda leader in Iraq who had turned against the terror group, the National Iraqi News Agency said.
Al-Juburi was killed in an attack late yesterday in the western sector of the capital Baghdad, the agency reported on its website today, without saying where it got the information.
He was a prominent leader of the Sahwa, or Awakening militia of former al-Qaeda-linked guerrillas who turned their guns against the group in 2006 with the support of the Iraqi government and U.S. forces.
The U.S. hailed the decision of its Sunni Muslim members to turn against al-Qaeda as a key to a country-wide decline in attacks about a year later. The Shiite Muslim-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki took charge of the force in 2008 and said it would disband the militia by absorbing 20 percent of its members into the police and army, and finding jobs for the rest. Many Awakening fighters have complained the government isn’t keeping its promises or doing enough to protect them against revenge attacks.
-Editors: Louis Meixler, Jennifer Freedman.