A group of militants attacked and killed eight policemen including one officer on Monday in Rawa, a town of a few thousand in Iraq’s Western province of Anbar, the heartland of the country’s Sunni Arabs and the centre of nearly five months of protests against the Shia-led government. The bodies of the dead soldiers were later found mutilated and dumped in the desert, a murderous scene reminiscent of the level of savagery in violent attacks that pushed Iraq to civil war following the 2003 US invasion which toppled the Sunni-controlled regime of Saddam Hussein and empowered Shias.
Seven policemen were also killed when militants attacked checkpoints and patrols in the nearby town of Haditha. Elsewhere in the Anbar province, armed groups attacked police posts and pro-government Sunni militias. The outbreak of violence in Anbar has raised fear that the anti-government insurgency has grown into a larger war as Iraq remains deadlocked in its worst ethno-sectarian struggle over power and wealth sharing.