AFP – Attacks in and north of Baghdad killed six people on Thursday, including three women gunned down in the capital, officials said, the latest in a months-long nationwide spike in unrest.
The attacks come as Iraq witnesses its worst violence since 2008, a surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 5,400 people this year despite authorities having carried out a swathe of operations and implemented tightened security measures.
In northeast Baghdad, police found the bodies of three blindfolded women bearing multiple gunshot wounds to the head, execution-style, at an empty plot in a Shi’a-majority neighbourhood.
A police officer and a medical official said initial investigations showed the women were shot earlier on Thursday.
Summary executions were commonplace at the height of the Sunni-Shi’a conflict in 2006-2007, when many thousands died.
Also on Thursday, gunmen killed a soldier and wounded two others in an attack targeting their patrol in the northern city of Mosul, while a roadside bombing targeting an army patrol northwest of the city left a soldier dead and two others wounded, officials said.
And gunmen killed one Sahwa anti-Qaeda fighter and wounded another in an attack targeting their checkpoint in Baiji, north of Baghdad.
From late 2006 onwards, Sunni tribal militias, known as the Sahwa, turned against their co-religionists in Al-Qaeda and sided with the US military, helping to turn the tide of Iraq’s bloody insurgency.
But Sunni militants view them as traitors and frequently target them.
Attacks so far in October have killed more than 720 people, according to an AFP tally.
The government has faced criticism for not doing more to tackle anger in the Sunni Arab community over alleged ill treatment at the hands of the Shi’a-led authorities.