TARMIYAH, Iraq (AFP) – Five family members of a local chief of an anti-Qaeda militia were gunned down in their homes in Tarmiyah, north of the Iraqi capital on Tuesday, with the children also beheaded, police said.
“The wife, a daughter of 22 and three boys of between 12 and 16 were shot dead, with the assassins also beheading the last three,” said Colonel Tawfiq al-Janaabi, police chief of Tarmiyah, 45 kilometres (28 miles) from Baghdad.
He said the local chief of the Al-Sahwa militia, identified as Abu Ali, was on duty at a checkpoint at the time of the attack.
On April 3, gunmen in army uniforms massacred 25 people from families linked to Al-Sahwa in a nighttime raid on a village south of Baghdad. The victims were tied up, tortured and shot in the head or the chest, a hospital source said.
The Sahwa, made up of Sunni Arab tribes, switched allegiances to join American and Iraqi forces in fighting insurgents in 2006 and 2007, leading to a dramatic fall in violence.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki last week gave his backing to calls for greater use of the former rebel militia in the efforts of Iraqi security forces and intelligence to prevent deadly bombings.