BAQUBA, Iraq, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- A former anti-al-Qaida militant was killed while two others were wounded in two bomb explosions in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala on Thursday, a provincial police source said.
Firas Ahmed, also known as a member of the Awakening Council group, was killed when a homemade bomb exploded as he was in his farm south of Diyala's capital city of Baquba, a source from the provincial police told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Iraqi security forces launched an investigation as they believed that he was part of a cell affiliated to al-Qaida in Iraq militants.
The Awakening Council group, or al-Sahwa in Arabic, consists of armed groups, including some powerful anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent groups, who turned their rifles against the al-Qaida network after the latter exercised indiscriminate killings against both Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities.
The Sahwa members were widely credited with helping defeat al- Qaida in many of their Sunni strongholds. But many of them reportedly returned to the terrorist group after it offered cash to lure its former allies who were angry with the government's failure to give them jobs and pay their salaries on time.
In a separate incident, a sticky bomb attached to a civilian car parked near a popular restaurant in northern Baquba went off, wounding two people, the source said.
Iraqi security forces at the scene arrested four suspects for interrogation, the source added.
In addition, Iraqi security forces conducted operations across the province during the past 24 hours and arrested three wanted individuals, he said.
Diyala province, which stretches from the eastern edges of Baghdad to the Iranian border east of the country, has long been a stronghold for al-Qaida militants and other insurgent groups since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 despite repeated U.S. and Iraqi military operations against them.