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US delight as Iraqi rebels turn their guns on al-Qa'eda
By Oliver Poole in Qaim
American troops on the Syrian border are enjoying a battle they have long waited to see - a clash between foreign al-Qa'eda fighters and Iraqi insurgents.
Tribal leaders in Husaybah are attacking followers of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist who established the town as an entry point for al-Qa'eda jihadists being smuggled into the country.
The reason, the US military believes, is frustration at the heavy-handed approach of the foreigners, who have kidnapped and assassinated local leaders and imposed a strict Islamic code.
Fighting, which could be clearly heard at night over the weekend, first broke out in May when as many as 50 mortar rounds were fired across the city. But, to the surprise of the American garrison, this time it was not the target.
If a shell landed near the US base, "they'd adjust their fire and not shoot at us", Lt Col Tim Mundy said. "They shot at each other."
Following al-Qa'eda's seizure of the main buildings a number of residents fled. Arkan Salim, 56, who left with his wife and four children, said: "We thought they were patriotic. Now we discovered that they are sick and crazy.
"They interfered in everything, even how we raise our children. They turned the city into hell, and we cannot live in it anymore."