(BAGHDAD) -- After a period of dormancy, sectarian warfare appears to be on the rise again in Iraq as the Shiite-led government's military is again clashing with Sunni tribesman in the wake of an attack earlier this week on a protest encampment in the north that left dozens dead.
On Wednesday, Sunni tribesmen attempted to block access to two towns in central Iraq, resulting in more fighting with the army.
At last report, at least 38 people were killed during fierce battles in Qara Tappah and Suleiman Beg, with Sunni gunmen, Iraqi soldiers and civilians all among the casualties.
Wednesday's fighting was touched off by a military raid Tuesday on a Sunni camp in Hawija near the northern city of Kirkuk where the government said gunmen responsible for an attack on a checkpoint days earlier were hiding out. As many as 58 people were reported killed in the military raid.
Sunni tribesmen are now vowing to take up arms against the military in retaliation for what they say is oppression by the government of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Until this week, large protests in Sunni towns against the central government have been mostly peaceful.
Meanwhile, Sunni lawmakers have suspended participation in parliament to show solidarity with members of their sect now engaged in fighting with the military.
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