Iraq Suicide Bombers Strike, Kill Govt Militia

Dozens of anti-al-Qaida militia have been killed in Iraq on Sunday after a suspected suicide bomber struck near a military camp where the government-backed paramilitary men were lining up to get their paychecks.

Reports said the attack occurred in the district of Radwaniya Sunday morning while militia members of the Awakening Councils, which are made up of several Sunni groups, were waiting to get their delayed paychecks from the government. The blast in Radwaniya killed at least 45 people and wounded more than 40 others, reports said. Another attack against the Awakening Councils , this time in the town of Qaim, killed three more militia, marking a deadly day for the group also known as the Sons of Iraq.

The Awakening Councils have played a big part in stabilizing the country, despite being former allies of the terrorist group al-Qaida. Around 100,000 militia members were tapped by the US to help fight terrorism after the Sunni groups decided to break their alliance with al-Qaida in 2006. However, the Councils have seen their role reduced after the US handed control of the security situation in the country to the government, with only around 20 percent of them remaining as part of the security forces.

The attacks come at a time when the US is gradually reducing its presence in the country, raising fears that the local military might not be capable of sustaining the gains achieved the past few years. The final batch of US combatants will leave Iraq at the end of August, while all American soldiers in the country will return home at the end of next year.