Gunmen raid homes, kill 6 people in northern Iraq
BAGHDAD (AP) — Gunmen killed six people in Iraq on Saturday, raiding two homes in a northern city in yet another bout of violence to strike the country in what has become a particularly bloody month.
Provincial police officials described the slayings in Mosul as "terrorist attacks." They are still investigating why gunmen stormed the houses, killing a husband and wife and two others in the first attack, and two men in the second house.
Attacks have picked up in recent weeks, with nearly 200 people killed since the start of August. On Thursday, a relentless assault across the country killed at least 93 people and wounded many more. It was the second deadliest day in Iraq since U.S. troops left in December.
Violence had fallen since its height between 2005 and 2008, but killings remain common. Al-Qaida's Iraqi branch says it intends to take back areas it once held before the U.S. and its local allies pushed it out.
A morgue official confirmed the casualties. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information to reporters.
Mosul was once an al-Qaida stronghold. It is about 360 kilometers (225 miles) north of Baghdad.
Also Saturday, an Iranian exile group said it plans to move 400 residents from a camp in northern Iraq to a refugee camp on Baghdad's outskirts.
The group, the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, has already moved about 2,000 of its residents from Camp Ashraf in northern Iraq to Camp Hurriya, a former U.S. military base. It ignored a July 20 deadline to move the remaining 1,200 members, saying they want proof of better facilities and improvements at the base.
Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the group, also known by the Farsi name Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, said the convoy of 400 residents would leave Aug. 23 "as a gesture of goodwill."
The group seeks the overthrow of Iran's clerical rulers. It carried out bombings and assassinations in Iran in the 1980s, but says it renounced violence in 2001.
Iraq considers the exiles a terrorist group. The United Nations helped broker a deal to close Ashraf and temporarily move the exiles into the refugee camp, though Iraqi and U.N. officials want the exiles to eventually be resettled outside Iraq.
The U.N. envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler, welcomed plans for the move next week and urged remaining Ashraf residents to prepare to relocate to Hurriya as well.
Associated Press writer Adam Schreck contributed reporting.