RAMADI, Iraq, May 18 (Xinhua) -- At least two people were killed in clashes between tribesmen and Iraqi security forces in the western province of Anbar on Saturday, while gunmen separately kidnapped five policemen in the province, a provincial security source said.
The clashes erupted near the provincial capital city of Ramadi when an unit of security forces tried to enter a tribal area near Ramadi, some 100 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The tribesmen in the area apparently believed that the unit was attempting to arrest Sheikh Mohammed Khamis Abu Risha and Sheikh Qusai al-Zain, two tribal leaders who are wanted for suspected connection with the killing of five soldiers earlier in Ramadi, the source said.
The clashes resulted in the killing of two people, while a military vehicle was damaged by the followers of the two Sheikhs, the source said, adding that the troops withdrew from the area without carrying out any arrest.
The two tribal leaders are key supporters of the Sunni anti- government protests in Anbar province, and who previously led the campaign of Sunni tribes against the al-Qaida militant group in the province in 2007.
Separately, unidentified gunmen ambushed a police patrol on a highway near Ramadi and kidnapped five policemen before they fled the scene, the source said.
Anbar province is the heartland of the Iraqi Sunni Muslims. Its capital Ramadi has been one of the main areas of the Sunni protests against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad since late December last year.
The Sunnis accuse the government of marginalizing them, and claimed that the Shiite-dominated Iraqi security forces were indiscriminately arresting their sons and torturing them.