At least 41 people, including women and children, died on Sunday when Shi'ite gunmen went on a rampage against residents in predominantly Sunni districts of Baghdad, Interior Ministry and police sources said. According to Reuters, Baghdad's Yarmuk hospital said it had received at least 17 bodies. The Interior Ministry said it had transferred 20 bodies to the hospital.
Residents said it appeared the killings were in retaliation for the bombing attack on a Shi'ite mosque in Sunni Jihad district on Saturday night in which at least three people died and 19 injured.
The Interior Ministry initially reported that gunmen had shot dead eight people at fake checkpoints close to the mosque. Witnesses told Reuters they saw the bodies of four men lying on the side of a road. All were bound and several blindfolded.
Deputy Prime Minister Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie, a Sunni, called the attack "a real and ugly massacre." He blamed Iraqi security forces that are widely believed to have been infiltrated by Shiite militia. "There are officers who instead of being in charge should be questioned and referred to judicial authorities," al-Zubaie told Al-Jazeera TV. "Jihad is witnessing a catastrophic crime."
Later, two car bombs exploded near a Shiite mosque in the city's north, killing 17 people and wounding 38 in what appeared to be a reprisal attack, police said.
Elsewhere, gunmen killed an Iraqi intelligence officer in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, the AP reported on Sunday. The officer was assassinated after his car was intercepted in the center of Karbala, south of Baghdad, health official Salim al-Abadi said.
Gunmen also opened fire on a foot patrol in eastern Baghdad, killing a policeman, police said. Another policeman died in a drive-by shooting in the northern city of Kirkuk.
A funeral was held Sunday for a former senior Baath Party official and his 5-year-old granddaughter. Both were shot dead Saturday night while driving in the Baghdad neighborhood of Dora, police said.