Iraqi officials deny the release of opposition MP

Ali al-Awani’s home in the Ramadi district in the western Anbar province was raided by security forces on Saturday

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Iraqi government officials denied on Sunday that a leading Iraqi opposition MP was released after he was arrested on terrorism charges a day earlier.

On Saturday, Ahmad al-Alwani’s home in the Ramadi district in the western Anbar province was raided by security forces, igniting clashes that killed his brother and five guards and arresting him.

An Al Arabiya correspondent reported that Awani, a well-known supporter of Sunni anti-government protesters, returned home to Ramadi. Alwani's relatives confirmed the news. This was later denied by the government and it remains unclear what Alwani's situation is.

Following Alwani's arrest, clans in the Anbar province gave Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a 12-hour ultimatum to free him.

Prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr on Saturday called on the army to fight terrorism in the Anbar province and not its people, referring to the earlier of the Sunni MP.

Since last December, Iraq's Sunni minority has been staging protests against what they claim is second-class treatment at the hands of the country's Shiite majority.

The protests have mostly focused around the Anbar province and other Sunni areas in the north.

Violence in Iraq has reached levels not seen since 2008, when the country was emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 6,700 people have been killed in the sectarian violence.

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