Dozens of unarmed civilians have been killed in Iraq in a new wave of apparently unprovoked attacks.
Gunmen shot dead four employees of a telecommunications company in the Shi-ite Sadr City district of Baghdad, while 24 civilians including children and elderly men have reportedly been executed at a makeshift checkpoint in the town of Udhaim, 120 kilometres north of Baghdad. The fate of four members of the Russian embassy kidnapped in the Iraqi capital yesterday remains unclear. Iraqi state television had said that the men have been released, but the Iraqi interior ministry then denied the reports.
The Russian embassy itself says they’ve no news of their missing staff, which include the embassy’s third most senior diplomat. A fifth embassy employeee was killed during the kidnapping in the Mansour district of Baghdad. United Nations security general Koffi Annan has condemned the attack on serving diplomats.