Iraqi anti-terror police guard a checkpoint in Baghdad, on January 6, 2011
Iraqi anti-terror police guard a checkpoint in Baghdad, on January 6, 2011. Iraqi officials confirm that eight people have been killed in violent attacks across the country while gunmen also kidnapped 10 security force personnel. © Ahmad al-Rubaye - AFP/File
Iraqi anti-terror police guard a checkpoint in Baghdad, on January 6, 2011
AFP
Last updated: May 18, 2013

Iraqi violence kills eight

Violence in Iraq killed 11 people on Saturday including a police officer, his wife and two children, while gunmen kidnapped up to 10 people, among them police, officials said.

The attacks are the latest in a wave of violence that has killed more than 270 people since the beginning of May, as tensions simmer between Iraq's Sunni minority and Shiite majority.

Gunmen broke into the home of the administrator for the Rashid area, south of Baghdad, killing one of his guards, an interior ministry official said.

They then moved to the nearby house of Captain Adnan al-Obaidi, a member of a police anti-terrorism unit, and killed him, his wife and their two children, the official said.

In Latifiyah, also south of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded in a popular market, killing at least one person and wounding at least 15, medical officials said.

Gunmen also killed a policeman in Mosul in north Iraq and shot dead a local administrative official to the west of the city, while others killed the imam of a Sunni mosque near the main southern port city of Basra.

Near Ramadi, west of Baghdad, security forces tried to arrest Mohammed Khamis Abu Risha, who is wanted in connection with the killing of five soldiers, police said. That sparked clashes with armed tribesmen in which two of them were killed.

Abu Risha is the nephew of powerful tribal sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, a key supporter of Sunni anti-government protesters in Anbar province who led the fight against Al-Qaeda in the province from 2007.

The nephew confirmed to AFP that two members of his tribe were killed.

Hundreds of gunmen then gathered in the area of the Anbar Operations Command headquarters near Ramadi, but later withdrew, police said.

Meanwhile, up to 10 people were kidnapped in Anbar province, where Ramadi is located, though security officers gave varying numbers.

The head of the Anbar Operations Command said five police were kidnapped, a figure confirmed by a police officer who said the five were highway police.

A police lieutenant colonel said 10 security forces members had been kidnapped.

Defence ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari gave the same number, telling Al-Hurra TV they were four police, four border guards and two civilians.

The Ramadi area is one of the main centres of the Sunni protest movement in Iraq, which began almost five months ago.

Tensions are festering between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, and Sunnis who accuse the authorities of marginalising and targeting their community, including through wrongful detentions and accusations of involvement in terrorism.

While the government has made some concessions, such as freeing prisoners and raising the salaries of Sunni anti-Al-Qaeda fighters, underlying issues have not been addressed.

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