June 5, 2013 / 1:22 PM / 6 years ago

Gunmen ambush bus, kill 15 passengers in Iraqi desert

ANBAR, Iraq (Reuters) - Gunmen ambushed a bus and killed 15 passengers in the Iraqi desert on Wednesday, security officials said, as growing sectarian violence raises fears of a return to civil war.

Nearly 2,000 people have been killed since April when a wave of bombings and attacks began, targeting Sunni and Shi’ite mosques and neighborhoods in Baghdad and other cities.

Two officials said 10 border police and five local residents travelling on the bus were killed in the desert between Anbar province and Kerbala city.

Security officials blame al Qaeda’s local wing and other Sunni Islamist insurgents for most of the violence they say is aimed at provoking a sectarian war between Iraq’s Shi’ite majority and minority Sunni population.

Reporting by Kamal Naama in Ramadi; writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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