BAGHDAD, Iraq – The growing confrontation between tribal leaders in Anbar Province and al-Qaida took a violent turn Thursday when a suicide bomber drove into a crowd gathering for a funeral procession in the volatile city of Fallujah, killing at least 27 people and wounding dozens of others. The attack on the mourners followed a pattern of two-stage assaults that has been replicated often in the four-year war. At breakfast time, masked gunmen assassinated a prominent Sunni tribal leader, Allawi al-Issawi, who had joined others across Anbar in opposing terrorist groups linked to al-Qaida. Less than three hours later, as mourners gathered for a funeral procession outside the tribal leader’s home, the suicide bomber struck. A bright spot The tribal leaders’ campaign has helped make Anbar one of the few bright spots in Iraq for the Americans. With many of the Sunni sheiks calling on their followers to join the Iraqi army and police and declaring al-Qaida a common enemy of Iraqi Sunnis, levels of violence across much of Anbar have dropped sharply, especially in the provincial capital of Ramadi and in towns along the Euphrates River valley. But the area around Fallujah, 30 miles west of Baghdad, has seen a violent struggle between tribal leaders eager to follow the lead set in Ramadi and other tribal groups that continue to back al-Qaida in what American commanders call the “Baghdad belts,” predominantly Sunni areas like Fallujah that straddle the approaches to the capital. Widespread attacks The Fallujah attack occurred on another day of widespread violence, much of it apparently committed by Sunni insurgent groups. Gunmen who set up a fake checkpoint at Hussainiya, on the northeastern outskirts of Baghdad, stopped a minibus and raked the Shiite passengers with gunfire, killing 11, including several women and children. The police said the attackers then left a bomb in the wreckage that exploded as rescuers arrived on the scene, killing two civilians and wounding several others. Car bombings, suicide attacks, mortar volleys and ambushes killed at least 50 others. They included six Iraqi policemen who died in a roadside bombing in the town of Suleiman Beg, about 60 miles south of the oil city of Kirkuk in an area of mixed Sunni, Kurdish and Turkmen population, where Sunni insurgents have been active. The police in Baghdad said they found 22 bodies in the city on Wednesday, bringing the number of unidentified bodies found abandoned in the capital, many bearing signs of torture, to more than 340 this month. That figure appears to be rising again, after a fall in the past three months. U.S. commanders have cited lower levels of sectarian killings as a tentative early sign of success in President George W. Bush’s “surge” strategy, under which nearly 30,000 additional U.S. troops have been committed to the war, with the last of them now preparing to deploy in Baghdad and other war hot spots like Diyala province. But the commanders have conceded that a lower rate of sectarian killing has been offset by an unabated tempo of suicide bombings, the attacks that claim the largest number of civilian deaths. The U.S. military command said two U.S. soldiers were killed Wednesday during combat operations in Anbar province, increasing a U.S. military death toll that has risen above 80 so far in May, one of the highest death rates in the war. U.S. commanders have said they expect American casualties to rise as the summer progresses and the troop increase reaches its peak. More than 150,000 troops are now deployed here, close to the highest level at any stage since the 2003 invasion. Death confirmed At least five of the American combat deaths this month resulted from a May 12 ambush in which three soldiers were abducted. The U.S. command confirmed on Thursday that a body found in the Euphrates River on Wednesday near the town of Musayyib, in a Qaida stronghold about 45 miles south of Baghdad, was that of Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr., 20, of Torrance. The search for the two other missing soldiers – Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass., and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich. – continued. Sadness, relief Among the thousands of U.S. troops involved in the manhunt, the recovery of Anzack’s body was greeted with a mixture of sadness and relief. “It’s good to have the finality of it,” said Lt. Michael Nunziato, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y., a member of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 210th Mountain Division, which lost a soldier in a bomb explosion on Saturday during the search for the missing men. Nunziato added, referring to Anzack, “You never want it to be that he passed away, but you have to keep up hope for the remaining two. You have to keep up hope.” In Baghdad on Thursday, Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki named replacements for six Cabinet ministers who quit last month on the orders of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. At the time, al-Sadr said he was taking the action to protest al-Maliki’s refusal to back a timeline for the departure of U.S. forces. But the cleric may also have wanted to distance himself from the increasingly unpopular Maliki administration.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
possible standings How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures Latest Football News 2 Every Championship club’s best signing of the decade, including Taarabt and Dack Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move “Let’s renew the old deal by one month. Then we have organised relationships right now and we are prepared to play the international matches this week.“Sign up and we will sit on the plane immediately. We are ready and we will play.”But it appears that his plea has been ignored.Denmark, who reached the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia this summer and are ninth in the FIFA rankings, have been beset by internal problems over the past 12 months.The national women’s team boycotted a World Cup qualifier against Sweden in October 2017 in a dispute over employment conditions.Sweden were awarded a 3-0 win and UEFA fined the DBU £18,000, and also warned that Denmark would be barred from UEFA tournaments if it cancelled another match in the next four years.So failing to play Wales would almost certainly see Denmark expelled from the 2020 European Championship. Christian Eriksen is set to miss out playing for Denmark this week With no sign of a resolution, the Danish Football Association (DBU) is now set to select a team of domestic players rather than Premier League-based stars such as Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel and Andreas Christensen.Manager Age Hareide will also be absent for both games, with former Arsenal midfielder John Jensen placed in temporary charge.The makeshift squad is expected to be drawn from the first and second divisions of the domestic Danish league and members of the national Futsal squad, an indoor five-a-side game played with a smaller and harder ball.Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen had earlier called for a truce in the row and said Denmark’s players were willing to play the two games under the terms of the old commercial rights agreement.“We have to solve this conflict now, not just digging the ditches deeper,” Eriksen said on the Danish Players’ Association website.“So we’re happy to stretch our hand again, even though DBU put it away in the first try. Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions silverware highlights RANKED smart causal impact Best clips, calls and talkSPORT moments of 2019, feat Hearn, McCoist and more Denmark were knocked out by Croatia in the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup DBU elite manager Kim Hallberg said: “We must hold teams in the two international matches to avoid millions of fines and possible exclusion of the national team for several years.“On behalf of DBU and Danish football, I am pleased that John Faxe Jensen has taken the hard task of being coach in both matches.”Jensen, who is noted for scoring in Denmark’s Euro 1992 final victory against Germany, played for Arsenal and spent eight months coaching in the Premier League at Blackburn in 2011.He went on to become a consultant at Brondby and spent fours years in charge of Danish club Fremad Amager between 2014 and 2018.“I do not consider the matter between DBU and the players, my yes is not an expression of it,” Jensen said.“I just hope to help us get through the two matches and that the parties find a solution as soon as possible.“The national team has meant infinitely much to me in my career and in my life.“It hurts to follow this course, and I hope my contribution can help mitigate the negative consequences.” MONEY Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Denmark are set field a team of lower-league and futsal players against Wales after the row which has rocked Danish football took an extraordinary twist.A bitter dispute has developed concerning the players’ commercial rights, ahead of the friendly against Slovakia on Wednesday and the UEFA Nations League opener with Wales in Aarhus on Sunday. England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade BEST OF ADVICE REVEALED 2