Iraq executes 11 convicted of ‘terrorism’: ministry

Thirteen people, including 11 convicted on charges relating to “terrorism” were executed by Iraqi authorities, the justice ministry said on Monday.

They included individuals responsible for car bombings, “killings of security forces personnel” and kidnappings, it said in a statement, without specifying dates, locations or other details of the attacks.

The executions are the first since the beginning of the year in Iraq, which according to rights group Amnesty International, put to death at least 111 people in 2017.

On December 15, 38 people sentenced under Iraq’s terrorism law were hanged in the country’s Nasiriyah prison. Three months earlier, 42 others were hanged at the same prison.

Iraq faces regular criticism from diplomats and rights groups over death sentences handed down almost daily under its terror laws.

Some 20,000 people were arrested during a years-long offensive by Iraqi forces battling to retake swathes of the country from the Islamic State group. Many have been sentenced to death but not yet executed.

But despite the announced victory against the militants, the group has struck different parts of the country. IS still clings to pockets of desert in war-torn Syria and appears to be able to cross the porous border between the two neighbours.

Last week, at least 25 people were killed and 18 injured in a bomb attack on funerals for Iraqi fighters killed by extremists, police and medics said.

“Two bombs exploded as the funeral procession was entering the cemetery” in Asdira, village mayor Salaheddin Shaalan told AFP.

The Sunni village is south of Sharqat, one of the last bastions of the Islamic State group in the country’s north to be retaken by Iraqi forces.

It was the deadliest attack in Iraq since a January 16 double suicide bombing in Baghdad claimed 31 lives.

The attack took place during a funeral for five members of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary units killed Wednesday night in the same village, 250 kilometers north of Baghdad.

The mostly Shia paramilitary units, which also include Sunni tribal forces, played a key role alongside the army in expelling extremists from Iraqi towns last year.

Extremists sometimes manage to snatch control of roads at night, especially in the Salaheddin province where the funeral attack took place, and Anbar province along the border with Syria, security experts say.

Iraq is gearing up for legislative elections set for May 12.

Since the 2003 US-led invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, polls in Iraq have consistently been marred by violence.


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