BAGHDAD- Iraq has hanged 26 people convicted of "terrorism" offenses, the Justice Ministry said on Tuesday, pursuing what a UN official criticized as a "conveyor-belt of executions".

All those executed on Sunday were Iraqi nationals. Among them was Adel al-Mashhadani, a "Sahwa" militia leader in Baghdad who was "famous for sectarian crimes", Justice Minister Hassan al-Shimari said in a statement on the ministry's website.

Sahwa (Awakening) militias are formed mostly of Sunni Muslim tribesmen who helped U.S. troops roll back an al Qaeda-led insurgency in Iraq from 2006 onwards.

Violence in Iraq has surged in the past year to its highest levels since the Sunni-Shi'ite sectarian bloodshed that peaked in 2006 and 2007 when tens of thousands of people were killed.

 



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