Key US Ally in Iraq Killed in Bomb Attack

Sheik opposed Al-Qaeda, helped stabilize Anbar province
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2007 11:25 AM CDT
President Bush, center left, shakes hands with Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, an Iraqi tribal leader, during a meeting with tribal leaders at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq, Monday, Sept. 3, 2007....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A key US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda was killed in a bomb attack today in Ramadi. Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the most influential of the Sunni leaders helping American and Iraqi forces fight the terror network, met with President Bush 2 weeks ago during his visit to Anbar province, once one of the country’s most dangerous regions.

Abu Risha’s alliance of tribal sheiks combated Al-Qaeda in what US leaders tout as one of the Iraq war's biggest success stories in curbing violence. “We do not believe in sectarianism,” Abu Risha told Bush. “We want to be united and build Iraq together.” But the  alliance was starting to splinter over infighting and dissatisfaction with his leadership, Reuters reports.