Militants kill 14 in attack on Iraq town -police

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BAGHDAD, Sep 16 (Reuters) Suspected al Qaeda militants killed 14 people in a predominantly Sunni Arab town north of Baghdad today, Iraqi police said.

Police said the attackers also torched at least 12 shops in the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km (50 miles) north of the capital.

There were no further details, but the attack came a day after an al Qaeda led group, the Islamic State in Iraq, announced a new phase of attacks to mark the month of Ramadan, which started late last week.

Sunni Islamist al Qaeda has had a strong presence in the area, which is in Diyala province, although US military officials say that recent security offensives have disrupted the network's operations there.

The motive for the attack was unclear, but some Sunni Arab tribes in Diyala have begun to cooperate with US and Iraqi security forces.

That follows a strategy first employed in Anbar province, where Sunni Arab tribes have joined forces to drive al Qaeda militants out of much of the vast western region.

Reuters SYU GC1145

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