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Anti-Al Qaeda leader who helped US troops is gunned down in Iraq

A local leader of anti-Al Qaeda militiamen was shot dead Tuesday in western Baghdad, one of four people killed in violence in different parts of Iraq, officials said.

The pro-government militiamen, known as the Sahwa group, joined forces with U.S. troops to fight Al Qaeda during the Iraq war. Since then, the group has been a target for Sunni insurgents who consider its members to be traitors.

The leader was driving through Baghdad's western suburb of Abu Ghraib when drive-by shooters sprayed his car with bullets, killing him, a police officer said.

Another group of drive-by shooters shot and killed a municipality official in the capital's southern Saydiyah neighborhood, another police officer said.

Also in Baghdad, gunmen broke into a real estate office in the northern Sabi al-Boor neighborhood, killing two and wounding two, police said. The motive behind the attack was not immediately clear.

Three health officials confirmed the causalities. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information to reporters.

Also, the provincial spokesman of the northern Kurdish city of Irbil, Hamza Othman, says a bomb attached to a car belonging to the Kurdish regional forces exploded and wounded a colonel.

Irbil is in Iraq's largely peaceful Kurdish region, 220 miles north of Baghdad. The area has generally been free of the bombings and shootings that have plagued the rest of Iraq.

Violence has ebbed in Iraq, but Sunni insurgents still launch frequent attacks to challenge the Shiite-led government.