More than 50 people were killed in mass executions across Iraq on Friday, security and medical officials said.
Violence struck in and around Baghdad and mostly Sunni Arab parts of the country, including in Diyala, Nineveh, and Salaheddin provinces, as well as in the city of Kirkuk, Agence France-Presse reported.
The recent surge in violence has seen victims kidnapped from their homes, only for their corpses to be found later, raising fears of Iraq deadly sectarian violence from 2006 to 2008.
Early Friday, authorities discovered the bodies of 18 men, including two tribal chiefs, four policemen and an army major, dumped in farmland near the Sunni Arab town of Tarmiyah, just north of Baghdad, according to AFP.
All of them had been shot in the head and chest, police and a medical source said.
Their bodies were found hours later, the sources also said.
The killings come just days after authorities discovered the bodies of 19 people shot dead in various parts of Baghdad, including eight found blindfolded and six whose corpses were left in a canal.
Friday’s violence makes the nationwide death toll of last week to more than 200. More than 6,000 people have been killed this year, forcing Baghdad to appeal for international help in battling the rise of militants especially from al-Qaeda.
During Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki recent trip to Washington he tried to push for greater intelligence sharing and the timely delivery of new weapons systems in a bid to combat militancy.
The U.N. Security Council condemned the violence on Wednesday and voiced support for government efforts to tackle the bloodshed.