The killing of 13 men and boys west of Baghdad over the weekend has sparked fears of a fresh eruption in sectarian fighting. The victims, including a Sunni politician and several of his relatives, were snatched from their homes and shot by men in Iraqi army uniforms, according to authorities. Residents say the killings appear to be the work of al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Washington Post reports.
Some of the victims are believed to have been members of a Sunni movement that fought al-Qaeda with the support and funding of the US military. Sunni leaders say that members of paramilitary groups have been abandoning checkpoints due to a difficult relationship with the Iraqi security forces, which has stopped paying their wages. "Many of them feel very tired," said a spokesman for the Sons of Iraq group. "There's no payment, so they have just left."