UK & World News
Iraq: 18 Oil Workers Shot Dead In Al Muqdadiyah
Eighteen oil and gas workers, most of them foreigners, have been shot dead by masked gunmen in Iraq.
The victims, 15 from Iran and three from Iraq, were attacked as they dug a trench to extend a gas pipeline outside the town of al Muqdadiyah, 50 miles from Baghdad.
Five Iranians and two Iraqis were also injured in the bloodshed, police said.
Ibrahem Aziz, who was wounded in the attack, said the gunmen sped up in three cars and opened fire on workers inside and outside the trench.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but officials say it bears the hallmarks of the al Qaeda terror network.
The contractors were working on a project to extend a gas pipeline from Iran to Iraq to fuel power plants in Baghdad and Diyala province.
In a separate incident, at least five people were killed and 14 wounded when a car bomb exploded in Nahrawan, a southern suburb of Baghdad.
A further six people were killed in a car bomb in the town of Madaen, south of Baghdad.
Violence in Iraq has soared this year, reaching a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a period of brutal sectarian killings.
The surge in unrest has raised fears Iraq is falling back into all-out conflict.
It took just eight days for this month's death toll to pass that for the entire month of December last year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.
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