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Iraq calls on US to arm 100,000 Sunni tribesmen against IS

IS claims bombing that targeted Sunni fighters who oppose the militants
Salim al-Juburi (R), Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament and US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) wait for a meeting on 10 September, 2014 in Baghdad (AFP)

Iraq has called on the US to arm 100,000 Sunni tribesmen in the country against the Islamic State (IS), according to an adviser to Iraqi parliament speaker.

Wahdah al-Jamili's comments came Friday following a meeting between US Senator John McCain, and Iraqi parliament Speaker Salim al-Juburi in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

"Juburi has called on the US to provide arms to 100,000 Sunni tribesmen living in four regions that are controlled by the ISIL," Jamili told The Anadolu Agency.

He said that some tribesmen and members of parliament also attended the meeting.

Juburi and McCain discussed the political and security situation in Iraq, as well as the problems in northern and western provinces that were partially controlled by the militant group, according to the adviser. 

"They talked about the issue of increasing efforts of the US-led coalition to overcome difficulties in Anbar, Saladin, Nineveh and Kirkuk," Jamili said.

The issue of increasing training and weapons aid to Iraqi security forces was also discussed, he added.

Armed tribesmen, who have been fighting against the IS along with security forces, recently called on the Iraqi government to provide them with arms and ammunition as they were running out of weapons and military supplies; but said that the government didn't meet their demands.

Iraq has been in a security vacuum since June, when IS overran Mosul and declared what it calls a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.

The US is leading an international coalition that has carried out numerous airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile, IS on Friday claimed it carried out a suicide bombing south of Baghdad that targeted Sunni fighters who oppose the militants, in which 38 people were killed.

The bomber attacked the fighters, known as Sahwa, while they were gathering near a military base in Madain on Wednesday to receive their pay, also wounding at least 56 people.

IS claimed the attack in a message posted online titled "Statement on the Martyrdom Operation in the Madain District", and identified the bomber as Saifeddin al-Ansari.

IS spearheaded a sweeping militant offensive that has overrun much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland since June -- areas that Shiite-led government forces have sought local Sunni help to recapture.

The Sahwa, or "Awakening" in Arabic, dates back to the height of the US-led war in Iraq, when Sunni tribesmen joined forces with the Americans to battle insurgents including IS's predecessor organisation, the Islamic State of Iraq.

The Sahwa were key to greatly but temporarily reducing the violence, but when Iraq's government took over responsibility from the US, they stopped paying the salaries of the fighters.

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