Gunmen kill 50 in Iraqi town

MOSUL, Iraq, Reuters

Gunmen rampaged through a Sunni district of the northwestern Iraqi town of Tal Afar overnight, killing about 50 people in reprisal for bombings in a Shiite area, Iraqi officials said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, ordered an inquiry into reports the gunmen included policemen from his Shiite- dominated security forces, an official in his office said.

The attack was on the Sunni district of al-Wihda in Tal Afar, where tensions have been rising between Shiite and Sunni Muslim residents, mostly Turkish-speaking ethnic Turkmen. The tit-for-tat violence in a town held up by U.S. President George W. Bush only a year ago as an example of progress towards peace in Iraq, graphically illustrates the challenge facing Maliki. in bridging an ever-widening sectarian divide.