Eight former Al Qaeda members executed in Iraq
Iraq fighters in Syria (AFP file image)
Gunmen dressed in military uniforms kidnapped eight former anti-Al Qaeda fighters north of Baghdad and executed them on Monday, Iraqi officials said.
The former Al Qaeda members were taken from their homes during a pre-dawn raid in Mishahada, north of the capital, according to AFP.
The corpses of the men were found later in the town, with their bodies showing signs of gunshot wounds to the head and chest areas, according to an interior ministry source and medical official who spoke to AFP.
The execution of the eight men comes amid a series of attacks against the Sunni group in the last few days, as Iraq grapples with a growing sectarian conflict and political deadlock.
Analysts say the stalemate is likely to persist until general elections due next year, according to AFP.
The eight casualties all previously fought in the Sahwa, a coalition of Sunni tribal militant groups that turned against Al Qaeda and joined forces with the US military in late 2006, proving influential in turning the tide of Iraq's bloody insurgency.
Members of the Sahwa are considered traitors by other Sunni militant groups, and are therefore often targeted with violence.
In the previous week alone, nine Sahwa fighters were killed and 18 others wounded in attacks, according to an Agence France Presse tally.
Iraq has seen a significant increase in violence since the start of 2013, coinciding with protests by the Sunni community, which says it is the target of discrimination at the hands of the Shiite-led government.
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