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Street killings underscore Iraq’s rising unrest

  • This undated image made from video posted on a militant website in Aug. 2013, with is consistent with other AP reporting, purports to show a jihadi militant flagging down a truck on a major highway in western Iraq.  The video shows militants stopping three Syrian truck drivers, interrogating them, then gunning them down, believing them to be members of the Alawite sect. The incident, as well as another posted video of a mob stringing up a suspected terrorist’s shirtless body by the feet and set it ablaze on a street on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, both confirmed by police, illustrate in stark terms the increasing brutality of the unrest gripping Iraq, fueling complaints that security forces are unable to contain it. (AP Photo via militant website)

    This undated image made from video posted on a militant website in Aug. 2013, with is consistent with other AP reporting, purports to show a jihadi militant flagging down a truck on a major highway in western Iraq. The video shows militants stopping three Syrian truck drivers, interrogating them, then gunning them down, believing them to be members of the Alawite sect. The incident, as well as another posted video of a mob stringing up a suspected terrorist’s shirtless body by the feet and set it ablaze on a street on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, both confirmed by police, illustrate in stark terms the increasing brutality of the unrest gripping Iraq, fueling complaints that security forces are unable to contain it. (AP Photo via militant website)

  • This undated image made from video posted on a militant website in Aug. 2013, with is consistent with other AP reporting, purports to show a jihadi militant flagging down a truck on a major highway in western Iraq.  The video shows militants stopping three Syrian truck drivers, interrogating them, then gunning them down, believing them to be members of the Alawite sect. The incident, as well as another posted video of a mob stringing up a suspected terrorist’s shirtless body by the feet and set it ablaze on a street on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, both confirmed by police, illustrate in stark terms the increasing brutality of the unrest gripping Iraq, fueling complaints that security forces are unable to contain it. (AP Photo via militant website)

    This undated image made from video posted on a militant website in Aug. 2013, with is consistent with other AP reporting, purports to show a jihadi militant flagging down a truck on a major highway in western Iraq. The video shows militants stopping three Syrian truck drivers, interrogating them, then gunning them down, believing them to be members of the Alawite sect. The incident, as well as another posted video of a mob stringing up a suspected terrorist’s shirtless body by the feet and set it ablaze on a street on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, both confirmed by police, illustrate in stark terms the increasing brutality of the unrest gripping Iraq, fueling complaints that security forces are unable to contain it. (AP Photo via militant website)

  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Thursday, Aug 29, 2013, mourners carry the coffin of Ali Abd al-Razzaq, 25, who was killed when a parked car bomb hit a coffee shop in the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah on Wednesday, in Azamiyah, Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

    FILE - in this file photo taken on Thursday, Aug 29, 2013, mourners carry the coffin of Ali Abd al-Razzaq, 25, who was killed when a parked car bomb hit a coffee shop in the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah on Wednesday, in Azamiyah, Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Thursday, Aug 29, 2013, mourners carry the coffin of Ali Abd al-Razzaq, 25, who was killed when a parked car bomb hit a coffee shop in the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah on Wednesday, in Azamiyah, Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

    FILE - in this file photo taken on Thursday, Aug 29, 2013, mourners carry the coffin of Ali Abd al-Razzaq, 25, who was killed when a parked car bomb hit a coffee shop in the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah on Wednesday, in Azamiyah, Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, a woman reacts after a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood of  Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

    FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, a woman reacts after a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, a woman reacts after a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood of  Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

    FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, a woman reacts after a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, People inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

    FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, People inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 People inspect the site of a car bomb attack at a vegetable market in Jamilah neighborhood  in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

    FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 People inspect the site of a car bomb attack at a vegetable market in Jamilah neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 People inspect the site of a car bomb attack at a vegetable market in Jamilah neighborhood  in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

    FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 People inspect the site of a car bomb attack at a vegetable market in Jamilah neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, People inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

    FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, People inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

  • This undated image made from video posted on a militant website in Aug. 2013, with is consistent with other AP reporting, purports to show a jihadi militant flagging down a truck on a major highway in western Iraq.  The video shows militants stopping three Syrian truck drivers, interrogating them, then gunning them down, believing them to be members of the Alawite sect. The incident, as well as another posted video of a mob stringing up a suspected terrorist’s shirtless body by the feet and set it ablaze on a street on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, both confirmed by police, illustrate in stark terms the increasing brutality of the unrest gripping Iraq, fueling complaints that security forces are unable to contain it. (AP Photo via militant website)
  • This undated image made from video posted on a militant website in Aug. 2013, with is consistent with other AP reporting, purports to show a jihadi militant flagging down a truck on a major highway in western Iraq.  The video shows militants stopping three Syrian truck drivers, interrogating them, then gunning them down, believing them to be members of the Alawite sect. The incident, as well as another posted video of a mob stringing up a suspected terrorist’s shirtless body by the feet and set it ablaze on a street on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, both confirmed by police, illustrate in stark terms the increasing brutality of the unrest gripping Iraq, fueling complaints that security forces are unable to contain it. (AP Photo via militant website)
  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Thursday, Aug 29, 2013, mourners carry the coffin of Ali Abd al-Razzaq, 25, who was killed when a parked car bomb hit a coffee shop in the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah on Wednesday, in Azamiyah, Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Thursday, Aug 29, 2013, mourners carry the coffin of Ali Abd al-Razzaq, 25, who was killed when a parked car bomb hit a coffee shop in the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah on Wednesday, in Azamiyah, Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, a woman reacts after a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood of  Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)
  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, a woman reacts after a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood of  Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)
  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, People inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)
  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 People inspect the site of a car bomb attack at a vegetable market in Jamilah neighborhood  in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 People inspect the site of a car bomb attack at a vegetable market in Jamilah neighborhood  in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
  • FILE - in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, People inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest, marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch, is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

The mob strung up the suspected terrorist’s shirtless body by the feet and set it ablaze on a street on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, a tire placed underneath to fuel the flames. In grainy footage of the immolation this week, the police appeared to do little to stop the vigilantes’ street justice.

In another video issued in recent days, jihadi militants who took over a major highway in western Iraq stop three Syrian truck drivers, interrogate them, then gun them down, believing them to be members of the Alawite sect.

The two incidents, confirmed by the police, illustrate in stark terms the increasing brutality of the unrest gripping Iraq, fueling complaints that security forces are unable to contain it.

Violence inside Iraq has accelerated in recent months to levels not seen since 2008, with more than 4,000 people killed since the start of April. The growing unrest – marked by frequent coordinated car bombings and other attacks blamed mostly on al-Qaida’s local branch targeting the police, the military and often Shiite Muslim areas – is intensifying fears Iraq is heading back toward the widespread Sunni-Shiite sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007.

Yet another barrage of al-Qaida-claimed explosions struck in and around Baghdad on Wednesday, when attacks killed at least 82 and wounded more than 200.

The mob’s immolation of a man believed to be a bomber in Baghdad on that day suggests that at least some Iraqis have had enough and are starting to take matters into their own hands.

In grainy footage taken by cell phone and posted online, dozens of people can be seen watching the man’s body burn, many of them filming it with mobile phones. They far outnumber the police, who appear to be trying to control the crowd but do nothing to stop the burning itself.

Saad Maan Ibrahim, an Interior Ministry spokesman, confirmed that the incident shown in the video happened Wednesday in Jisr Diyala, a largely Shiite area on the edges of Baghdad. Authorities previously told the Associated Press that two parked car bombs struck the neighborhood that morning, killing eight and wounding nearly two dozen.

Two police officials said the man in the video was seen getting out of a car that later exploded. One bomb had already gone off, and onlookers grew suspicious when he parked his car and then ran away after being spotted, one of the officers said. An angry mob caught up with him and beat him to death, then set his body alight, they said. The two officers spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

Ibrahim said an investigation into the incident is under way, but had no answer why the police appeared to allow the burning to continue. “But for sure we reject such acts,” he said.

Iraqis, regardless of their sectarian background, are weary of the terrorist attacks that have battered the country since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

While some who have seen the video recoiled at the desecration, many seemed willing to accept the crowd’s judgment that the man was a militant getting his due after a decade of bloodshed in the country.

“That guy got a fair punishment, except it’s maybe 10 times less than what he deserved,” said Hassan Sabih, a 28-year-old Shiite who owns an internet cafe in Baghdad. He said he hoped the video would deter would-be terrorists. “The security forces aren’t able to protect the people,” Sabih said.

Ammar Ahmed, a 34-year-old Sunni baker, had a similar reaction.

“I don’t agree with the way they handled it, but I can’t blame them,” he said. “People don’t trust the security forces and the government anymore.”

The security forces’ credibility took a sharp hit in July when al-Qaida carried out highly coordinated military-style assaults on two prisons near Baghdad, including the infamous Abu Ghraib. Those raids set free more than 500 inmates, many of them members of the terrorist group. An Interpol alert warned that the escapes posed “a major threat to global security.”

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