BAGHDAD — Gunmen on Tuesday tried to take over a small Sunni town in Iraq’s west, sparking battles that left 11 people dead, including six attackers, said an official.
The assault on Ana, some 200 miles northwest of Baghdad on the road to the Syrian border, came amid a surge in attacks by Sunni militants building on rising sectarian tensions. The province, Anbar, has been an epicenter of protests by Sunnis against what they consider to be second-class treatment by the Shi’ite-led government.
Waqas Adnan, the mayor of Ana, said that the assault on the town started at dawn, when a car bomb exploded near the town’s police station. The mayor said that about 30 gunmen attacked and seized his house.
He added that his brother died in the two hours of fighting that ensued, as well as four police and six attackers.
Adnan, who was unharmed, said that bombs were planted in his house by the insurgents, but they did not explode. Army reinforcements were sent to the town following the clashes.