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Iraqi Police: Gunmen Kill at Least 12 in Baghdad Brothel

Civilians gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Kamaliyah neighborhood, a predominantly Shiite area of eastern Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, May 20, 2013.
Iraqi police say gunmen killed at least seven women and five men at a brothel in eastern Baghdad. The news came as the government released new details of a military shakeup aimed at curbing a weeks-long spike in sectarian violence.

Police say Wednesday's attack occurred in a wealthy residential area of the Zayouna district, where gunmen last week shot dead at least 10 merchants selling alcohol. Both prostitution and alcohol are prohibited by Islam, and authorities say both Sunni and Shi'ite extremists have launched campaigns of intimidation and violence against such operations, which often are run by non-Muslims.

A government spokesman said Wednesday the military security shakeup will target division commanders, as well as operations.

The reorganization follows a surge in sectarian violence that has killed nearly 300 people in the past week, in attacks on Sunni and Shi'ite mosques and busy outdoor markets in Baghdad and other cities.

Iraq is experiencing its worst sectarian violence since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in late 2011, raising fears that the country could slide into all-out sectarian war.