Iraq gunmen kill 14 people at fake checkpoint

Map showing al-Nukhaib

At least 14 people have been killed at a fake security checkpoint manned by gunmen in western Iraq, officials say.

The checkpoint was reportedly set up along the main highway to Saudi Arabia, near the town of al-Nukhaib, in the predominantly Sunni province of Anbar.

One report said those killed were all policemen; another identified them as soldiers and civilians from Karbala.

They were stopped by the gunmen and appeared to have been executed, officials told the Associated Press.

The sectarian violence in Iraq has escalated in recent weeks, raising fears of a more sustained period of violence between Iraq's Shia Arab majority and the minority Sunni community.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the nationwide unrest in May, according to the United Nations, the highest monthly death toll since the height of the insurgency in 2006 and 2007.

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