World Bulletin / News Desk
Tribal chieftains in Iraq's predominantly Sunni Anbar province on Tuesday voiced support for what they describe as "revolutionary tribesmen" and the latter's fight against government troops.
Tribal chieftains held a conference on Tuesday in provincial capital Ramadi at which they issued a joint statement condemning what they called "the unjust war waged by the government of [Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki" on the province.
The province was rocked by clashes early this month when Iraqi security forces dismantled a months-old anti-government sit-in. The sit-in was staged by Sunni tribesmen to protest perceived anti-Sunni discrimination by the Shiite-dominated government.
Chieftains said that the crackdown on the province had led armed tribesmen to take up arms against government troops "in defense of their souls and the pride of the tribes that al-Maliki tried to undermine."
"The Anbar tribes support their sons in their revolution to preserve the province's dignity and regain its full rights – even if our blood is shed to achieve it," chieftains said.
On Monday, local health authorities said at least 71 people had been killed and 319 injured since violence rocked the province late last month.
Anbar Health Directorate chief Khodeir Shalal clarified that the death toll covered all fatalities registered since the eruption of violence up until Saturday.
3 killed, 19 injured in Ramadi shelling
Three Iraqis were killed and 19 injured on Tuesday by army shelling and clashes in the western city of Ramadi, a medical source said.
A woman and two children were among those injured, the source said.
Meanwhile, clashes were reported between tribesmen and government forces in northern Ramadi, a tribal source said.
Reports have yet to emerge about casualties.
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