The most powerful Sunni Muslim party in Iraq issued an angry statement Saturday accusing Americans of covering up the killing of an innocent member of the party.
The Iraqi Islamic Party of Vice President Tariq al Hashimi suspended all “official communication” with American military and civilian officials in Iraq Saturday until it receives an “explanation … official apology … and a vow to stop the campaign of harassment against the party.”
The statement followed an incident Friday in which U.S. and Iraqi forces raided a home six miles west of Fallujah in predominantly Sunni Anbar province, detained one man and killed another. The Islamic Party accused the American military of detaining five innocent members of the party and killing Sajed Yasseen Hameed, 44, “in his bed in cold blood.”
The U.S. military said in a statement that the raid was conducted based on a Ministry of Interior warrant for a member of the Hamas al Iraq insurgent group. When troops raided the home, an armed man shot at them and they returned fire, the statement said. The Iraqi Army found homemade bombs, a detonation cord and blasting caps in the room where the man was arrested, the statement said.
Israeli leader likely to urge early vote
Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni has given up efforts to form a coalition government and will recommend early elections, Israeli radio stations reported Saturday night.
Israel Radio and Army Radio both said that after consulting with her advisers during the evening, Livni decided not to continue coalition talks and to tell President Shimon Peres today to call a general election, most probably in February. That would be more than a year ahead of schedule.
There was no official announcement and Livni’s spokesman did not answer repeated phone calls.
The centrist Kadima party chose Livni, 50, a month ago to succeed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is stepping down amid a corruption scandal.
Opinion polls have indicated that the hawkish Likud party led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would sweep to power in an early election. He takes a harder line on peace talks with the Palestinians than Livni, who has been conciliatory toward Arab leaders and says her goal is a full peace treaty with the Palestinians as soon as possible.