Death and betrayal stalk police in Iraq

Sat May 29, 2010 4:39am EDT
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By Waleed Ibrahim and Matt Robinson

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At 10 a.m. on Monday this week, Lieutenant-Colonel Ali Khalaf says the police department in the Iraqi town of Ramadi issued an order for him to return to the force after eight months out of work.

At 1:45 p.m. the same day, a bomb detonated remotely tore through his kitchen wall, killing his 20-year-old nephew, also a police officer.

Fifteen minutes later, a second device rigged to a washing machine timer exploded outside the house.

Khalaf needed no further proof of the threat posed to the Iraqi security forces by a diminished but adapting insurgency, or the corrupt police officers that feed it.

"Now I will try to get passports for me and my family and we will leave Iraq," he said by telephone from Ramadi, 100 km (60 miles) west of Baghdad.

Four bombs exploded that day outside the homes of three police officers in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province -- once a hotbed of Sunni Islamist insurgents like al Qaeda.

Khalaf's nephew, his head crushed and one arm ripped off by the blast, was the latest victim in a wave of targeted killings now the modus operandi of the insurgency.

Overall violence in Iraq has dropped sharply since the sectarian slaughter of 2006-07. The insurgency unleashed by the 2003 U.S. invasion remains entrenched in some areas, and bombings are still a regular occurrence.   Continued...