BAGHDAD – Gunmen killed 10 people in Iraq, including five soldiers near the main Sunni protest camp west of Baghdad, the latest in a wave of violence that has raised fears the country faces a new round of sectarian bloodshed.
The attack on the army intelligence soldiers in the former insurgent stronghold of Ramadi drew a quick response from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose Shiite-led government has been the target of rising Sunni anger over perceived mistreatment.
Iraqi officials have repeatedly claimed that insurgent groups, such as al-Qaida in Iraq and supporters of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, have infiltrated Sunni demonstrations.
“I call upon the peaceful protesters to expel the criminals targeting military and police,” al-Maliki said in a statement.
Authorities announced a curfew in the whole province of Anbar. They also gave the protest organizers in Ramadi, the provincial capital, a 24-hours deadline to hand over the gunmen responsible for killing the soldiers or face a “firm response.”