Militants kill family of five in Iraq

Militants kill family of five in Iraq
10 most corrupt: No. 7 Iraq
10 most corrupt: No. 7 Iraq

BAGHDAD - Militants dressed in army uniforms attacked the house of an anti-Al-Qaeda militiaman in Iraq on Thursday, killing him, his wife and their three children, security officials said.

The attack took place in the Abu Ghraib area, west of Baghdad, the officials said.

The Sahwa militia is made up of Sunni Arab tribesmen who joined forces with the United States from late 2006, helping to bring about a significant reduction in violence.

They are frequently targeted by Sunni militants, who consider them traitors.

Violence in Iraq has surged this year to levels not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal sectarian conflict.

More people were killed in the first eight days of this month than in all of December last year.

And more than 6,550 people have been killed since the beginning of 2013, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

Analysts say that widespread discontent among Iraq's minority Sunni Arab community is a major factor fuelling the surge in unrest.

The civil war in neighbouring Syria, which has bolstered extremist groups, has also played a role.

While the government has made some concessions aimed at placating Sunni Arabs, including freeing prisoners and raising the salaries of Sahwa fighters, underlying issues remain unaddressed.

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