BAGHDAD, Mar 24 (Reuters) Gunmen killed four bakery workers in a predominantly Sunni district of Baghdad today and planted an explosive booby-trap that killed a policeman responding to the attack, police said.
Police said the gunmen entered the bakery in Saydiya district and machine-gunned the workers inside, killing four and wounding one before leaving a box outside and fleeing the scene.
When a police patrol arrived shortly afterwards, a police lieutenant opened the box, police said. He was killed in the ensuing explosion and a colleague wounded.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the capital in recent weeks, victims of the continuing Sunni Arab insurgency against the government and sectarian reprisal attacks sparked by the bombing of a major Shi'ite mosque in Sammara on Feb. 22.
Police said they found seven bodies dumped in the street in the mostly Shi'ite district of al-Binouk in northern Baghdad on Friday.
Their hands were bound and all had been shot in the head, a typical feature of the sectarian killings.
The surge in communal bloodshed has alarmed Washington, whose envoy is pressuring Iraq's leaders to end a deadlock over forming a unity government three months after elections, amid fears the impasse is creating a dangerous power vacuum.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said this week he believed Iraq was already in a state of civil war, although US President George W Bush and US military officials have disputed this.
REUTERS CH PM1407