Middle East

Saturday 26 July 2014

Militias blamed for 31 deaths at brothel

Colin Freeman

Published 15/07/2014|02:30

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Armed Shi'ite volunteers from brigades loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, take their positions during a military advance in areas under the control of militants of the Islamic State on the outskirts of Samarra. Reuters
Armed Shi'ite volunteers from brigades loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, take their positions during a military advance in areas under the control of militants of the Islamic State on the outskirts of Samarra. Reuters
Mourners carry the coffin of Salah al-Wa'ili, a fighter from the Iraqi Shi'ite group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, during his funeral in Najaf. Reuters
Mourners carry the coffin of Salah al-Wa'ili, a fighter from the Iraqi Shi'ite group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, during his funeral in Najaf. Reuters
A member of the Kurdish security forces takes up position with his weapon as he guards a section of an oil refinery, which is being brought on a truck to Kalak refinery in the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Reuters
A member of the Kurdish security forces takes up position with his weapon as he guards a section of an oil refinery, which is being brought on a truck to Kalak refinery in the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Reuters

RELIGIOUS militias are suspected of carrying out a massacre in a brothel in Baghdad in which 29 women and two men were killed.

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Gunmen stormed a compound in the upmarket suburb of Zayouna, which is known in the Iraqi capital as a red-light area.

Reports say their target on Saturday night was a notorious brothel-keeper known only as 'Aws', who was known to bribe police and soldiers in return for them turning a blind eye to his rackets. The side street where the compound was located was routinely guarded by armed members of the security forces.

Grisly photographs, obtained by the AFP news agency, showed the crouching bodies of five women huddled together in a corner of a bathroom with blood-spattered tiled walls and floor.

It appeared that the women had made a desperate attempt to hide from their attackers.

Other pictures showed corpses, some dressed in bright colours, others in black, lined up in a living room, the floor of which was drenched with blood.

A further photograph showed the brothel-keeper lying dead in a pool of blood alongside one of his presumed henchmen.

The two men appeared to have had their hands tied behind their backs before being executed.

"This is the fate of any (person practising) prostitution," read an inscription on the front door of one of the raided buildings. There has been no claim of responsibility.

It is thought that it may have been the work of one of Baghdad's many religious militias, who are known for attacking illicit sex establishments and alcohol shops. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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