June 18, 2010 / 11:25 AM / 9 years ago

Iraqi interpreter for U.S. shot dead by son and nephew

SAMARRA, Iraq (Reuters) - An Iraqi interpreter for U.S. soldiers was shot dead by his son and nephew on the orders of a Sunni Islamist insurgent group that considered him a traitor, police said Friday.

Hameed al-Daraji was killed Thursday at his home in the tense, mainly Sunni city of Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

His son and nephew, working with the militant group Ansar al-Sunna, were let into the home in the early hours of the morning by another of Daraji’s sons, who was arrested by police and confessed, a police investigator told Reuters.

The nephew was also arrested but the other son escaped.

“They confessed they had killed him on the orders of the Ansar al-Sunna organisation,” said the investigator, who asked not to be named.

“He (Daraji) had been warned several times by armed groups to stop working with the Americans but he stayed in his job.”

Ansar al-Sunna is affiliated with Sunni Islamist al Qaeda, and has been blamed for a number of deadly bomb blasts, abductions and killings since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Overall violence in Iraq has dropped sharply since the all-out sectarian warfare of 2006-7, but shootings and bombings — often targeting police, government officials or former Sunni insurgents who switched sides — are still common.

Sectarian tensions have simmered since an inconclusive election in March that pitted a Sunni-backed cross-sectarian alliance against the country’s major Shi’ite-led political groups. No one won outright, producing a prolonged period of political negotiations over forming a coalition government.

Reporting by Sabah al-Bazee; Writing by Muhanad Mohammed; Editing by Matt Robinson

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