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Gunmen kill anti-Qaeda militiaman's family in Baghdad

04 September 2013, 08:05

Baghdad - An anti-Qaeda militiaman, his wife and three children were gunned down in the Iraqi capital early on Tuesday, officials said, the latest in a string of attacks targeting the Sunni Arab force.

A surge of unrest has killed more than 3 800 people this year and sparked widespread concern that Iraq is slipping back towards the all-out bloodshed which plagued it in 2006-2007.

Authorities have pushed a massive security campaign targeting militants, but analysts and diplomats have cautioned that the government must also address the root causes of the violence.

On Tuesday, gunmen entered the home of a Sahwa fighter in south Baghdad and killed him, as well as his wife, two sons and a daughter, a security official and a medical source said.

It came a day after two sets of attacks against the Sunni militia killed 12 people, including a co-ordinated assault involving two suicide bombers and a car bomb on the home of the militia's national chief in which he was wounded.

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.

The government has increasingly turned to Sahwa fighters as it combats a surge in unrest, with violence at its highest level since 2008.



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