Matt Bradley and Ali A. Nabhan
Wall Street Journal
April 23, 2013

Iraq’s security forces killed at least 38 mostly Sunni protesters and gunmen in the northern city of Hawija on Tuesday, escalating months of brewing sectarian tensions and protests into outright armed conflict.

Antiriot security forces, responding to the killing of an Iraqi soldier several days earlier, raided the Hawija protest camp during the early morning hours of Tuesday, according to security officials, killing 25 people, burning tents and arresting 75. Three Iraqi soldiers were killed in the raid.

The raid sparked an immediate reaction from Sunni militants in Iraq’s western provinces, who have long complained of discrimination at the hands of the Shiite-dominated national government in Baghdad. Gunmen in the surrounding Sunni-dominated region attacked police checkpoints in Riyadh and Rashad, holding them for a several hours before military reinforcements were able to launch a counterattack.

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