Anti-al-Qaida forces among dead
BAGHDAD – Three attacks north of Baghdad on Monday killed 25 people, including members of a Sunni militia that fights al-Qaida, officials said, in the latest of a trend of insurgent strikes plaguing Iraq.
The first attack illustrated that while Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence is in a dangerous upswing, there are other forces at play as well. Eight Sunni Muslim militiamen were snatched from their houses in the town of Mishahda and surrounding villages during the past two days and then killed, a police officer said. He said their bodies were left in an orchard on Monday with gunshot wounds. Some had their hands bound behind their backs.
The government-allied militiamen, or Sahwa, joined with U.S. troops to fight al-Qaida before the U.S. pullout in late 2011. They have since been a frequent target for al-Qaida in Iraq, which considers them traitors. The town where the abductions took place, a former insurgent stronghold, is about 20 miles north of the capital.
Sectarian violence also erupted Monday.
Shortly after sunset, a suicide bomber set off his explosive belt inside a Shiite mosque where a funeral was taking place, killing nine people and wounding 40 others. The attack took place in the town of Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Al-Qaida in Iraq frequently deploys car bombs and suicide bombers, often targeting Shiites and security forces.
Later, police said a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a cafe in the restive city of Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, killing eight people and wounding 20 others.