Baghdad: A Sunni schoolteacher was seized from his car, then shot to death Thursday by suspected Shiite militia fighters, police said.
Ahmed Al Janabi a 45-year-old father of three, was driving to visit his sister in a predominantly Shiite area in southwestern Baghdad when gunmen in two cars stopped him at an intersection and took him away in his car after examining his identification and food ration cards, which would have identified him as Sunni by his name, tribal affiliation or place of residence.
Police found his body in the car in a nearby neighborhood about an hour later. Al Janabi had been shot three times in the eyes, according to an officer at the hospital where the body was received.
The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared becoming a target himself, said the attackers were Shiite militia gang members.
Such sectarian killings usually blamed on so-called death squads run by Shiite militias have been a daily occurrence in Iraq since a February 2006 bombing of an important Shiite shrine north of Baghdad sparked a wave of retaliatory violence.
The numbers have dropped dramatically since a major joint US-Iraqi security crackdown began in Baghdad February. They have dropped further when radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Al Sadr in August ordered his Mahdi Army militia fighters to cease attacks for up to six months.
But Al Janabi's death was an example of continuing attacks by breakaway factions the US military claims are being armed and funded by Iran.
Despite persistent violence, the Iraqi civilian death count is projected to decline for the second consecutive month.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Al Sadr reiterated his call, threatening to expel Mahdi Army members who don't respect the freeze.
Al Sadr's office in the holy city of Najaf south of Baghdad said the statement was issued in response to questions from followers about whether the order to stand down still applied.