| GEO World|
| Iraqi family of nine gunned down in home: police|
| Updated at: 1544 PST, Friday, January 23, 2009|
BAQUBA: Nine members of an Iraqi family, including six women and a child, were killed when unknown gunmen stormed their home on Friday near Baquba in the restive province of Diyala, police said.
The attack on the Sunni Arab family took place in the town of Balad Ruz, 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of the provincial capital Baquba, a police official told. "Nine members of one family have been killed for an unknown reason," he said, listing those killed as six women, a child and two men. He said that the family had only recently returned to Balad Ruz after taking refuge in Baquba from the insurgency and communal violence, which swept Iraq in the aftermath of the US-led invasion in 2003. "They were displaced people who had moved back to their native area two months ago," the official said. Diyala, in central Iraq, is considered one of the most dangerous areas of the country, where Al-Qaeda and various insurgent groups still manage to launch attacks despite a general decrease in violence levels elsewhere. Friday's killing was the latest incident in a recent surge of unrest ahead of the country's January 31 provincial elections, seen as crucial step in consolidating the nation's fragile security situation.