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IRAQ'S MAIN SUNNI PARTY SUSPENDS ITS U.S. CONTACTS

Iraq's largest Sunni party said Saturday that it has suspended official contacts with American military personnel and civilians after the killing of a man near Fallujah.

The Iraqi Islamic Party accused the raid of having a "hidden political motive" in an indication of rising tensions in Anbar province ahead of provincial elections at the end of January.

The U.S. military said U.S.-backed Iraqi soldiers arrested an insurgent leader suspected of training roadside bomb cells in an operation Friday that killed a man who opened fire on the troops.

The Islamic Party said a senior member of the party was killed in his bed and five others were arrested during the raid in the Halabsa area on the outskirts of the former insurgent stronghold.

It accused the troops of targeting party members after its success in forging tribal alliances with other political blocs.

The party said it "has decided to suspend all official contacts with the Americans, both military and civilians, until the party receives a reasonable explanation about what happened, along with an official apology."

The Islamic Party has been locked in a bitter rivalry with Sunni tribal leaders who joined forces with the United States against al-Qaida in Iraq in so-called Awakening Councils.

SHIITE RALLY: About 300 Shiites rallied in the southern city of Basra against a U.S.-Iraqi security pact under negotiation. The demonstrators were members of Sayyid al-Shuhada, a local Muslim charity linked to Iraq's largest Shiite political party, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. Demonstrators raised banners that read "No to the agreement of humiliation" while chanting "No to America."

FAST FACTS

Bomb attack

A bomb attached to a car exploded near Andalus Square in central Baghdad on Saturday, killing a brigadier general and wounding his guard and a civilian bystander, according to police and hospital officials.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, a roadside bomb struck an Iraqi army patrol, killing one soldier and wounding three others.

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