Gunmen in Iraq ambush, shoot and kill 14 travelersPublished 10:10am Wednesday, June 5, 2013
BAGHDAD — Gunmen ambushed a group of travelers at a fake checkpoint at a remote desert site in western Iraq on Wednesday and killed at least 14 of them, according to Iraqi officials, in what appeared to be the latest blow in sectarian violence gripping the country.
The gunmen, apparently looking for Shiites to kill, struck near the town of Nukhaib. The town, near the site of a deadly 2011 ambush, sits at a desert crossroads west of the Shiite holy city of Karbala, but is in the Sunni-dominated Anbar province.
The assailants manning the fake highway checkpoint checked the identities of travelers, presumably to identify their sect based on their names, according to officials. Police said they found blood-stained IDs on the ground identifying some of the dead as coming from Karbala, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad.
Officials said the 14 victims of Wednesday’s attack were shot in the head. They said the dead included police and soldiers, as well as civilian residents of the overwhelmingly Shiite Karbala.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to reporters.