BAGHDAD - Iraq executed 42 people, including a woman, for mass killings and other "terrorism" offenses over two days this week, the justice ministry and the United Nations said on Thursday after a surge in sectarian violence.
The UN mission in the country said it was concerned about the executions, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, and repeated its call for Baghdad to suspend the death penalty.
Rights groups say executions have been on the rise in recent years.
Sixty-eight death sentences were carried out in 2011, according to Amnesty International. The 42 hanged this week amounted to almost a third of the total number the campaign group said were executed in all of 2012.
"The criminals were found guilty of terrorist crimes... (that) led to the deaths of dozens of innocent citizens, as well as other crimes aimed at destabilizing the security and stability of the country and causing chaos and terror among the people," Minister of Justice Hassan al-Shimary said in a statement.
More than 6,000 people have been killed in attacks across Iraq so far this year, as Sunni Islamist insurgents including al-Qaida regain momentum.