Setback for al-Qaeda? “Iraq: Al-Qaeda militants surrender to US forces,” from AKI, July 14:
Seventy militants, many of whom are reportedly linked to al-Qaeda cells in Iraq, have surrendered to US forces in the Sunni area of Biji, west of Baghdad.
According to the Arab newspaper al-Hayat, the militants surrendered in the area of al-Siniya in front of local tribal chiefs.
The US military had presented to Sunni tribes a list of 150 people they were seeking from the local population on charges related to terrorism, murder and kidnappings.
After the mediation of tribal leaders, almost half of those who surrendered agreed to return to their original clans, hand over their arms to the Americans and promise to give up armed conflict if their names were removed from the most wanted list.
“Most of the people who were arrested are from al-Qaeda,” said an Iraqi police source. “The rest were part of the Rashidin Army and the Islamic Army of Iraq.”
The Rashidin Army and the Islamic Army of Iraq are among a number of Islamist insurgent groups formed in Iraq following the 2003 allied invasion.