Middle East

Iraq violence: Shootings and bombings leave 33 dead

Iraqi interior ministry security force officer at a checkpoint in Baghdad (27 November 2013)
Image caption Iraqi security forces have failed to stem the bloodshed

A series of shootings and bombings have left at least 33 people dead across Iraq, officials say.

In Baghdad, the bodies of 18 people who had been executed were found in Shia and Sunni districts, including three men and two women from the same family.

Meanwhile, nine people died and 20 were injured in the city of Ramadi, west of the capital, when suicide bombers and gunmen attacked two police stations.

Sectarian violence has surged across the country in recent months.

The UN says 979 people - including 158 police and 127 military personnel - were killed in violent attacks in October. More than 6,500 civilians have died since January, the highest annual toll since 2008.

Shot in the head

On Wednesday, police in Baghdad found the bodies of eight men who had been shot in the head and dumped in farmland in the predominantly Sunni southern suburb of Arab Jabour.

The bodies of another five men were found in the north-western Shia district of Shula. The victims had their hands and legs bound and had gunshot wounds to their heads and chests.

The five members of the same family were shot dead in the mainly Shia district of Hurriya. The victims were reportedly Sunnis.

And one civilian was killed when gunmen opened fire on people at a bus station in the Bayaa district, another Shia district in the south of the city.

A bomb also exploded in a commercial area in the southern Dora district, killing two civilians, while at least one other person died when mortars shells hit a nearby area.

In Ramadi, the capital of western province of Anbar, police were targeted in two separate attacks.

The first saw a suicide bomber blow up an explosives-packed vehicle next to a police station on the city's outskirts before an assault was launched by gunmen and other suicide bombers. Later, a separate suicide bombing took place at a police station to the north.

Meanwhile, in the northern city of Mosul, two teachers were shot dead.

The United Nations has called on Iraq's political leaders to co-operate to end the bloodshed, which has escalated since an army raid on a Sunni Arab anti-government protest camp in April 2013.

The protesters had called for the resignation of Shia Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, who they accused of targeting the minority Sunni community.

Iraq has also seen a spill-over of violence from the conflict in Syria, where jihadist rebels linked to the Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda, have risen to prominence.

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