BAQUBA, Iraq - Agence France-Presse
Iraqi soldiers stormed the governor's office in the restive province of Diyala before dawn yesterday, killing his secretary and firing on local police, the governor told AFP. The incident in the provincial capital Baquba, which occurred about 2 am (2300 GMT Monday), sparked clashes between the soldiers and local security forces, which governor Raad Rasheed Mulla Jawad said had caused casualties.
"During the night, Iraqi forces from Baghdad burst into the provincial council building," arriving in Humvee armored vehicles, said Jawad, whose province northeast of the capital remains one of Iraq's most dangerous areas.
"They were hitting everyone. They disarmed the guards and killed my secretary Abbas al-Tamimi," he said, adding that the soldiers also arrested Hussein al-Zubaidi, head of the provincial council's security committee.
"They took cars, mobile phones, money and then left," Jawad said, adding that an investigation had been launched to identify the culprits.
The governor said the soldiers also raided the home of Baquba university's rector who was likewise arrested.
The U.S. military, which has a base in Baquba, said it was not involved.
"The operation involving the Diyala Governance Centre was done without the knowledge or assistance of coalition forces," said a U.S. military spokesman, Major John Hall. "An air weapons team was in the vicinity of the incident but did not engage any targets," he said.
Officials from the Iraqi interior and defence ministries could not be reached for immediate comment.Last month, with support from US forces, 50,000 Iraqi soldiers and police launched a major crackdown against Al-Qaeda fighters and other insurgents in Diyala.