Baghdad Brothel Mass Shooting Kills 13; Shiite Militia Implicated

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 07:55 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A Baghdad brothel was the site of a mass shooting Tuesday that left seven women and five men dead.

Several gunmen reportedly stormed an apartment in the Zayouna area of east Baghdad, opening fire on its occupants. The apartment, which has apparently been used as a brothel for some time, was targeted last year as well, Agence France-Presse reported.

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In May 2012, another brothel in the area was attacked in the same fashion resulting in another 12 individuals killed by masked gunmen.

Additionally, in early December, gunmen attacked 12 liquor stores in Baghdad, killing nine people, Reuters reported.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack. Shiite Muslim militias, who warn against practices like prostitution that oppose their interpretations of Islam, are believed to have been behind assaults on liquor stores and cafes earlier in 2013.

The spike in violence is being felt across Iraq, with current levels matching those of 2008. In the first five days of January, the nation's death toll has already exceeded that of the entire month of January 2013, the AFP noted.

In addition, the nation has also been marred by an uptick in sectarian killings toward the end of 2013 and into the new year.

In October, a suicide car bomber attacked an elementary school and a police station in a small northern Iraqi village while a second terrorist detonated a bomb among Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad, killing at least 27 people, including children, officials said.

In early December, Baghdad experienced a wave of bombings mostly targeting Shiite areas that left at least 35 people dead and more than 110 wounded.

Officials blamed Al-Qaida-linked militants for that violence, claiming they were emboldened by the civil war in neighboring Syria.

According to a United Nations mission to Iraq, violence in the persistently war-torn country claimed the lives of 7,818 civilians in 2013, with 759 people being killed in December alone, the vast majority of who were civilians. Iraq's 2013 death toll was among the nation's highest in years.

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