Iraq militia chief behind pilgrim blasts: Official

Also known as Sahwa, the Awakening Councils are made up of Sunni fighters.

Last Updated: Jan 22, 2011, 15:18 PM IST

Baghdad: A top Iraqi security commander has announced the arrest of a government-backed Sunni Muslim militia leader on charges of being behind the deadly suicide bombings against Shi’ite pilgrims this week.

Major General Numan Dakhil said on Saturday that security forces were tipped off about the Awakening Council chief in Hillah just hours after the Thursday blasts that killed 56.

Dakhil said the militiaman`s assistant also was arrested but refused to give more details.

Also known as Sahwa or Sons of Iraq, the Awakening Councils are made up of Sunni fighters who sided with US forces against al Qaeda in a crucial turning point of the war.

But they complain they have been sidelined by Iraq`s Shi’ite government ever since.

Bureau Report