4 killed in Iraq's violence

Photo: 4 killed in Iraq's violence / Iraq

Four people were killed and five others wounded in separate violent attacks in Iraq on Thursday, police said, Xinhua reported.

In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, an off-duty policeman and his relative were shot dead by gunmen at a village near the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

Iraqi police found the body of Ali al-Timimi, a cleric at a Sunni mosque at a small river in the city of Maqdadiyah, some 40 km northeast of Baquba, the source said.

The cleric was kidnapped last month by gunmen wearing military uniforms, the source said, adding that his body has signs of torture with bullet holes in his chest.

Elsewhere, a civilian was killed and four others were wounded when a roadside bomb detonated near a government-owned bank in the city of Kut, the capital of Wasit province, about 170 km southeast of Baghdad, a local police source told Xinhua.

In Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin, a leader of a government-backed Sahwa paramilitary group was critically wounded when a roadside bomb went off near his car at a rural area in east of the provincial capital city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, a local police source said.

The Sahwa militia, also known as the Awakening Council or the Sons of Iraq, consists of armed groups, including some powerful anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent groups, who turned their rifles against the al-Qaida network after Sahwa's leaders became dismayed by al- Qaida's brutality and religious zealotry in the country.

Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, 8,109 Iraqis, including 952 members of Iraqi security forces, were killed in the country from January to November this year.

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