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Iraqi Sunnis Accuse Government Of Cleansing Operations

Sunni official Taha al-Luhaybi speaking to reporters on 13 November (AFP) 15 November 2005 -- The Sunni-Arab led Iraqi Accordance Front has accused Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari's administration of carrying out sectarian cleansing operations in areas north and west of Baghdad in an attempt to thwart Sunni Arab participation in next month's parliamentary elections.

The accusations came on 13 November after Iraq's Interior Ministry announced the start of operations in the Diyala Governorate, where estimates put the number of insurgents arrested since 12 November at between 300 (government estimates) and 600 (Sunni Arab groups' estimates) people.

National Dialogue Council spokesman Khudayr al-Luhaybi told reporters at a 13 November press briefing in Baghdad that the operation in Diyala had not killed any terrorists, and left only a small number of "honorable resistance men" dead, RFI reported. "Most of those who were killed and whose houses were destroyed are innocent people who have nothing to do with any jihadist, armed, or terrorist action, as claimed by the government and the occupation forces," al-Luhaybi said.

The Diyala operation, coupled with the ongoing Operation Steel Curtain that began in the Al-Anbar governorate on 5 November, Sunni Arabs argue, are terrorizing and alienating the population. The Iraqi government has maintained that citizen informants helped propel the operations with their tips on the whereabouts of terrorist cells operating in Iraq.

RFE/RL Iraq Report

RFE/RL Iraq Report

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