A Baghdad brothel was the scene of a violent attack on Tuesday as gunmen shot and killed seven women and five men – presumably prostitutes and their clients.
The attack took place in east Baghdad at an apartment in the Zayouna area. By coincidence, (or is it?) a similar attack took place in the same area on May 22 last year, killing the same number of people.
Only a week before, gunmen rendered police powerless at a checkpoint in the area, and then shot dead 12 people in nearby shops. Is there any significance in the number 12 – or is it just a macabre similarity?
Violence in Iraq has now achieved a level not seen for over five years, when the country had just emerged from a brutal period of sectarian killings.
Following US troops pulling out in December 2011, Iraq has seen an ever spiraling increase in violence.
In 2012, bomb and gun attacks targeted Shia areas throughout the year, setting off a new sectarian conflict. Nearly 200 people were killed in January, more than 160 in June, 113 in a single day in July, more than 70 people in August, about 62 in attacks nationwide in September, and at least 35 before and during the Shia mourning month of Muharram in November.
In April 2013, troops stormed a Sunni anti-government protest camp in Hawija near Kirkuk, killing 50. By July the country was a full-blown sectarian war zone once again.
In September, there was a massacre at Camp Ashraf – a refuge for exiles from Iran.
The government announced that October had been the deadliest month since April 2008, with 900 killed. By the end of 2013, the UN estimated the death toll of civilians at 7,157 – more than double that of the previous year.
The attack on the Bagdad brothel added to the statistic. During the first 5 days of January, the death toll exceeded that of the entire month of January 2013.