Baquba, Iraq (AFP) April 29, 2011
A Sunni imam's family and four Sunni brothers were shot dead in attacks in central Iraq on Friday, a day after a suicide bomber killed 10 Shiite worshippers in a nearby mosque.
The flare-up in restive Diyala province, part of nationwide violence that left 11 people dead, comes with just months before the end-of-2011 scheduled withdrawal of US troops.
Early on Friday, gunmen killed Bashir Mutlak, imam of Al-Sumaidaie mosque in Imam Waiss village, his wife and their daughter at the family home, an army colonel in the Diyala security command centre said.
Mutla, 52, his wife, 42, and their 11-year-old daughter were all shot dead, said Ahmed Alwan, a doctor at the main hospital in Diyala's provincial capital of Baquba.
In the town of Buhruz, also in Diyala, four Sunni brothers aged between 20 and 35 were shot dead by gunmen wearing police uniforms, according to an army officer who asked not to be identified.
Three of the brothers -- Raad, Johar and Hussein Khalif Hamid al-Zaidi -- were members of an anti-Qaeda tribal militia, the Sahwa, while the youngest brother Alaa was not, according to morgue workers and local Sahwa leaders.
Groups of Sunni tribes turned against Al-Qaeda and sided with the US military from late 2006, marking a key turning point in the insurgency.
The attackers stormed the family's home at about 4:00 am (0100 GMT), separated the men from their wives, sisters and mother, gathered them in a room and shot them dead before fleeing the scene.
The violence came after a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shiite mosque late on Thursday in the Diyala town of Baladruz, killing 10 and wounding 30, all men, according to security and medical sources.
The attacks raise the spectre of renewed sectarian violence in Iraq, which suffered from widespread intercommunal bloodshed in 2006 and 2007 that left tens of thousands dead.
Violence has declined dramatically since then, but attacks remain common, especially in Diyala.
Also on Friday, three roadside bombs which exploded in quick succession in south Baghdad killed three people, including one policeman, an interior ministry official said, on condition of anonymity.
Another 28 people were wounded in the blasts, including 20 policemen.
And in the main northern city of Mosul, gunmen killed tribal chief Mutashar al-Aghaidi near his home just after midday, according to a police source in Mosul.
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Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century
10 killed in Iraq mosque suicide attack
Baquba, Iraq (AFP) April 28, 2011
A suicide bomber killed 10 people as he blew himself up inside a Shiite mosque in central Iraq on Thursday, as nationwide violence left 16 dead, including senior police and army officers. The flare-up comes with just months to go before US troops are to withdraw completely from Iraq and as a string of American officials have passed through Baghdad this month to press Iraq to decide on whethe ... read more
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