A shopkeeper arranges bottles in a shop in the Zayouna area of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on May 15, 2013
A shopkeeper arranges bottles in a shop in the Zayouna area of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on May 15, 2013. © Khalil al-Murshidi - AFP/File
A shopkeeper arranges bottles in a shop in the Zayouna area of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on May 15, 2013
AFP
Last updated: December 7, 2013

Gunmen kill nine at Baghdad alcohol shops

Gunmen shot dead nine people at alcohol shops in the Iraqi capital on Saturday, security and medical officials said.

The shootings in the Waziriyah area of Baghdad also wounded at least five people, the sources said.

Militants have targeted Baghdad's liquor stores in the past, both because drinking is forbidden by Islam and because such shops are often run by religious minorities.

In May, gunmen armed with silenced weapons killed 12 people at liquor stores in the city.

Also on Saturday, a roadside bomb killed one person and wounded four in the Dura area of Baghdad, while a blast in the northern city of Mosul killed three people and wounded 12.

Violence in Iraq has reached a level this year not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal period of rampant sectarian killings.

The mounting unrest comes as Iraq's Al-Qaeda affiliate has been emboldened by the civil war in neighbouring Syria. The renamed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has carried out scores of attacks on both sides of the border.

Violence in Iraq spiked after security forces stormed a Sunni Arab protest camp north of Baghdad in April, sparking clashes that killed dozens.

Members of Iraq's Sunni minority, who complain of discrimination at the hands of the Shiite-led government, have held demonstrations for almost a year.

The government has made some concessions aimed at placating Sunni Arabs, including freeing prisoners and raising the salaries of anti-Al-Qaeda fighters, and has also trumpeted security operations against militants.

But daily attacks have shown no sign of abating, and violence has killed more than 6,250 people since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

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