Gunmen kill Iraqi family of 4 in Baghdad home

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BAGHDAD: Gunmen stormed the home of a Shiite family living in a mostly Sunni neighborhood of Baghdad and killed all four family members, police said Sunday.

Two policemen said a 16-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl were shot to death with their parents in the raid, which took place around 11 p.m. Saturday. A Baghdad morgue official confirmed the deaths.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Further details about the family or the motive behind the shooting were not immediately available. But the killings were reminiscent of the sectarian violence that plagued Iraq from 2005 to 2007, when whole neighborhoods were cleansed of one sect or the other.

The attack came hours after Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki told US House Speaker John Boehner that Iraq’s security forces can protect the country after the planned withdrawal of 46,000 US troops by the end of the year.

In a statement on his website, Al-Maliki told Boehner that "the Iraqi armed and security forces are able to handle the responsibility of maintaining security, and work in a professional way."

"We looking forward to future cooperation with the United Stated in the area of training and arming forces," the statement said.

Al-Maliki has maintained that the estimated 46,000 US troops currently in Iraq must leave by Dec. 31 as required under a security agreement between Baghdad and Washington. However, a small number of active-duty soldiers — currently estimated at 119 — will remain in Iraq next year as part of a US Embassy office to continue training Iraqi forces as they buy new arms and equipment from American firms.

Boehner, an Ohio republican whose one-day trip to Iraq was not announced, "expressed the wish and interests of his country to continue supporting the political and democratic process in Iraq," the statement said.

Boehner had left Iraq by Sunday morning, according to a US official in Baghdad who referred all questions to the speaker’s office in Washington.


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