The Ansar al-Sunnah Army is one of the most feared extremist groups operating in Iraq, having taken responsibility for several major attacks and the killings of foreign...

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The Ansar al-Sunnah Army is one of the most feared extremist groups operating in Iraq, having taken responsibility for several major attacks and the killings of foreign hostages.


The group’s members are thought to fundamentalist Muslims whose goal is to turn Iraq into a tightly controlled Islamic state like the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

It first appeared with a claim that it staged dual suicide bombings at the offices of two Kurdish political parties that killed 109 people last Feb. 1. Some experts speculated the group was an offshoot of Ansar al-Islam, a militant group operating in Iraq’s Kurdish north, and suggested the new name was designed to appeal to the country’s Sunni Arabs.

In a statement issued last month, Ansar al-Sunnah said it had begun working with two other terrorist groups, Al-Qaida in Iraq, led by Jordanian Musab al-Zarqawi, and the Islamic Army in Iraq.

Some actions by Ansar al-Sunnah over last four months:

— Dec. 21: Claims to be behind rocket attack on U.S.-Iraqi base near Mosul that kills at least 20 and wounding more than five dozen.

— Dec. 5: Claims responsibility for machine gun attack in Tikrit that kills 17 Iraqi civilians employed by U.S. military.

— Dec. 1: Claims to have abducted and killed three Iraqis working for U.S. Marines.

— Nov. 25: Claims responsibility for rocket attack on Baghdad’s Green Zone that kills four Nepalese security guards and 12 others.

— Nov. 20: Posts video on Internet showing fatal shooting of two hostages identified as members of Kurdish political group in Mosul.

— Nov. 4: Puts video on Internet showing beheading of man it says was Iraqi army major captured in Mosul.

— Oct. 28: Claims it killed 11 Iraqi soldiers taken hostage south of Baghdad.

— Oct. 18: Claims responsibility for killing of nine Iraqi policemen returning from training in Jordan.

— Aug. 31: Takes responsibility for killing of 12 kidnapped Nepalese construction workers, shown in video posted on Internet.