KIRKUK, Iraq - Masked gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms shot dead seven members of a government-backed militia on Friday in a northern town, in an apparent attempt to provoke unrest against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

No group claimed responsibility, but Sunni insurgents have increased their attacks over the past two months, a year after US troops pulled out of the country, where Shi'ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurdish factions still struggle over how to share power.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Riding motorbikes, the gunmen dragged "Sahwa" fighters from their beds in a caravan and killed seven of them, seriously wounding an eighth near the town of Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (105 miles) north of Baghdad.