Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Reuters AlertNet - Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms kill four in sleep

Reuters AlertNet - Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms kill four in sleep: "BAGHDAD, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms shot dead a 70-year-old Sunni Arab tribal leader and three of his sons as they slept in their home, relatives said on Wednesday.

A Defence Ministry official denied Iraqi troops were involved in the slayings in the Hurriya district of Baghdad overnight and said the killers must have been terrorists in disguise.

'Iraqi army uniforms litter the streets and any terrorist can kill and tarnish our image, killing two birds with one stone,' he said.

The attack is likely to fuel sectarian tensions which have raised fears of civil war.

It comes a week after the discovery of more than 170 malnourished Sunni prisoners locked in an Interior Ministry bunker. Some showed signs of starvation and torture.

In the latest attack, an Interior Ministry official said 40 men wearing army uniforms had come to the victims' house in the night. Relatives said they were shot in their sleep.

One victim was holding his daughter. 'The gunmen told the girl to move then shot the father,' said a relative.

The slain elderly man, Kathim Sirheed Ali, was the head of the Batta tribe, his family said.

Sunni leaders accuse the Shi'ite-dominated Interior Ministry of sanctioning death squads run by Shi'ite militias which attack Sunnis. The government denies it."

Civil war.

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