Armed men have killed 25 women and wounded at least eight people while storming two buildings in a residential Baghdad compound, Iraqi police and government sources say.
The AFP news agency reported quoting the officials that the compound was being used for prostitution.
“Twenty-five women were killed and eight people wounded, among them four men, when gunmen stormed two buildings in a residential compound in Zayouna in east Baghdad,” an Interior Ministry official told the AFP news agency on Saturday.
A senior police officer, who said the attackers used silenced weapons, gave the same death toll but reported 11 wounded.
“Unidentified gunmen stormed building number 43 in Zayouna, killing 10 women and wounding five. They also stormed building number 44, where they killed 15 women and wounded six men,” a police colonel said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
An AFP correspondent on the scene said police cordoned off the area while witnesses said several people were arrested in the wake of the killings.
“This is the fate of any prostitution,” read a inscription on the door of the one of the raided buildings.
Residents said the street’s sole access point was manned by police and soldiers.
It was not immediately clear who the killers were but similar raids killed 12 people in May 2013 and three women two months later in the same mainly Shia neighbourhood.
Shia armed groups have become more active on the streets of Baghdad since Sunni fighters led by the Islamic State group took over large expanses of eastern and northern Iraq a month ago.
The violence comes as the New York-based Human Rights Watch said Iraqi security forces and Shia militia members have been involved in executing at least 255 prisoners in six cities and villages.