Officials: Bomb kills Sunni militia leader in Iraq

A local leader of a government-backed Sunni paramilitary group was killed Friday in a bombing as he opened his butcher store northeast of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said. Khazal al-Sammaraie was killed and six other people were wounded in the explosion of the bomb, which was hidden on a motorcycle parked near the store on the outskirts of Baqouba, police said. The head of Baqouba's main group fighting al-Qaida in Iraq, Khalid Khudeir Mohammed, confirmed the death. He said al-Sammaraie was the leader of a local chapter of the so-called Awakening Council. US commanders say the Sunni groups have been pivotal in helping drive down the levels of violence in Iraq. But members have been frequently targeted as insurgents seek to derail security gains ahead of June 30 deadline for the Americans to withdraw from urban areas in Iraq.