At least 40 people have been killed by Shi’ite gunmen in Baghdad in a sectarian attack targeting Sunni Muslims. It is the bloodiest such incident of sectarian violence and increases fears of civil war.
Police and Interior Ministry sources said that Shi’ite gunmen were moving through a predominantly Sunni district checking peoples identity papers for typically Sunni names. Reuters reports that according to one Interior Ministry Official, Sunni men were being herded into side streets and gunned down.
A senior Shi’ite politician said Mehdi Army fighters from eastern Baghdad had moved into areas of Baghdad on Sunday but insisted that they were only targeting Sunni militants responsible for killing Shi’ites. Since the bombing of a major Shi’ite shrine in Samarra in February there has been a surge in sectarian bloodshed in Iraq.