Islamic State blamed for execution-style deaths of 12 in Iraq
BAGHDAD — Residents of a town north of Baghdad found 12 corpses with execution-style bullet wounds on Monday. Fighting between rival Sunni insurgents eventually could unravel a coalition that has seized much of northern and western Iraq.
The incident points to an intensification of infighting between the Islamic State and other Sunni groups, such as supporters of former dictator Saddam Hussein, which rallied behind the al-Qaida offshoot last month because of shared hatred for the Shiite-led Iraqi government.
Police in Muqdadiya, a town 50 miles northeast of the capital, said residents from the nearby town of Saadiya found the 12 corpses.
Since the Islamic State swept through Iraqi cities and proclaimed its leader caliph of Muslims last month, there have been increasing signs of conflict with other Sunni groups, which do not necessarily share its rejection of Iraq's borders or its severe interpretation of Islam.
Washington, which recruited Sunni fighters to defeat al-Qaida during the offensive in 2006-07, hopes other Sunnis again will turn against the Islamic State and can be lured back into a power-sharing government in Baghdad.
The White House has pressed for an inclusive government, but so far Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ignored calls from Sunnis and Kurds to step down in favor of a less-polarizing figure who would allow Sunnis a greater voice.
Residents say the town is a stronghold of Naqshbandi Army fighters who supported the Islamic State when it swept into the area but have since clashed with the group.
The people who found the bodies said the men were Naqshbandi fighters in their 20s and 30s, and blamed the Islamic State for the killings. The residents brought the corpses to police in Muqdadiya because the police in their town fled on June 10 when the insurgents swept in.