Attacks in Iraq yesterday killed five people, including two anti-Qaeda militiamen, officials said, the latest in an apparent spike in violence less than a month ahead of provincial elections.
In the deadliest attack, gunmen killed Hussein Musleh and two of his sons near their home in the village of Al-Jumhuriyah in Salaheddin province, north of Baghdad.
Musleh was a leader of the Sahwa, a collection of Sunni tribal militias that sided with the US military against Al-Qaeda from late-2006, helping turn the tide of Iraq's violent insurgency.
Another Sahwa fighter was killed by gunmen using silenced weapons in restive Diyala province, also north of the capital, officials said.
Sahwa fighters are regarded as traitors by Sunni militants and are therefore often targets for attacks -- including Friday's attacks, 19 Sahwa fighters have been killed so far this month.
A civilian was also killed in the town of Balad, north of Baghdad, by a magnetic "sticky bomb" attached to his car, according to security and medical officials.
Violence has declined dramatically across Iraq since its peak in 2006 and 2007 when the country was mired in a brutal sectarian war, but attacks are still common, especially in Baghdad and north of the capital.
A total of 208 people have been killed in violence so far this month, according to an AFP tally based on reports from security and medical officials.
The latest violence comes ahead of provincial elections scheduled for April 20, Iraq's first polls in three years.