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Iraqi Army Kills U.S.-Allied Sunni Militiaman

Members of the Awakening militia at a checkpoint in Baghdad's Fadhil district
BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- Iraqi soldiers have a Sunni Arab fighter from a U.S.-allied local militia unit and arrested his brother, Iraqi police said.

Basim Muhammad was shot during a raid in Abu Ghraib, a predominantly Sunni district on the western outskirts of Baghdad, a police source in the district said.

The official, who declined to be named, did not say what charges Muhammad or his brother may have been facing.

Muhammad was a member of a local Awakening Council, the mainly Sunni Arab guard units including many former insurgents who switched sides to fight Al-Qaeda in late 2006.

The guards have helped drastically cut violence in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq where insurgents once held sway.

The Awakening militias were backed and paid by U.S. forces until the Iraqi government took control of them in recent months. Since then, their salaries have fallen behind schedule and number of them have been arrested.

Many regard the Shi'ite-led government with suspicion and have been dismayed by salary delays, attacks on guard units, and a spate arrests of guards in recent months.

On May 3, Iraqi forces arrested Nadhim al-Juburi, an Awakening chief and religious leader in Salah Al-Din province.

In late March, Iraqi forces seized Adil al-Mashhadani, head of another guard unit in central Baghdad's Fadhil neighborhood, sparking clashes that killed three people.

Several others have been detained or attacked. Iraqi officials deny the government is targeting the guards because of their sect or insurgent past.