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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 December, 2003, 10:57 GMT
Baathists gunned down in Basra
Dumeetha Luthra
BBC correspondent in Basra

Revenge killings have been increasing in Iraq's second city, Basra.

The southern province has seen a sharp rise in the number of former Baath Party members being gunned down.

Basra coalition forces have not been targeted to the same extent as in central Iraq, but the crime rate is high with murder a daily occurrence.

It seems the killings are targeting anyone from the previous regime, and not only senior figures connected with ousted leader Saddam Hussein.

Tribal feuds

While day to day life in Basra continues unhindered there is an undercurrent of fear with the daily news that another person has been killed or kidnapped.

An Iraqi civilian vents his frustration at a British soldier in Basra
Coalition forces have been unable to halt the rising crime rate
Police officials say that in the past few weeks at least 20 former Baath Party members have been murdered.

In some instances the killers have left signs around the victim's neck denouncing him as a Baathist.

The attacks have been blamed on tribal feuds and the jostling for power within the city.

Local people also accuse a number of Islamic organisations but no one is willing to openly point the finger.

So far no one has been arrested.

Trouble flares again in Basra
10 Aug 03  |  Middle East
US warns of more Iraq attacks
10 Aug 03  |  Middle East

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