RAMADI, Iraq — A suicide bomb attack Wednesday in Anbar province's capital killed 25 people and wounded 100 others, including the governor. The attack raised fears that the devastating bloodletting that swept western Iraq several years ago may be returning.
Gov. Kassim Mohammad Fahdlawi had rushed to the scene of an earlier car bombing in Ramadi and was preparing to leave the site when the suicide bomber struck. The blast killed the governor's security adviser and wounded Fahdlawi and at least one other member of the provincial council.
The attacker most likely was a member of Fahdlawi's own security detail, several officials said.
There were contradictory reports of whether two car bombs had exploded in the area before the suicide bomber walked up to Fahdlawi and his entourage.
The explosions evoked memories of the province's darkest days from 2004 to 2006, when al-Qaida in Iraq turned Ramadi into a wasteland of blown-up buildings, with only a Marine company to prevent the provincial capital's government center from being overrun. Only after Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, a tribal leader, revolted against militants and created the U.S.-allied Awakening movement did the tide turn. Even with Abu Risha's assassination in September 2007, the province continued to move forward and was hailed as one of Iraq's success stories.
Tribal leaders warned Wednesday that Anbar has entered a new period of bloodshed ahead of March's national elections. They fear that al-Qaida in Iraq will try to capitalize on tribal and political rivalries to reassert itself.
Sheik Hatem Suleiman, one of the most senior tribal leaders in the province, said, "It is the negligence of the officials and the tribal sheiks of Anbar. … Al-Qaida is still existing in Anbar."