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17 executed in Iraq, ministry says

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
August 20, 2013 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An Egyptian man and two Iraqi women are among those executed, a statement says
  • It says most of them had been convicted of terrorism
  • This appears to be the latest of several executions in recent months
  • They come despite a United Nations call for restraint

(CNN) -- Iraqi authorities executed 17 people, including an Egyptian man and two Iraqi women, most of whom were convicted of terrorism, Iraq's Ministry of Justice said in a statement released Monday.

"The Ministry carried out the executions against the terrorists after it was approved by the presidential council," the ministry said in the statement.

The prisoners were put to death in what appears to be the latest of several executions carried out by authorities in recent months, despite a United Nations call for restraint. Nearly 70 people were executed in Iraq in 2013, according to CNN tally, and Human Rights Watch reports that more than 120 people were executed between 2011 and 2012.

Increased violence by extremists in Iraq
Iraq's oil production problems

The executions come as Iraq smolders with sectarian tension and political infighting.

Violence in Iraq surged in May, with 1,045 deaths, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq announced. That had been the deadliest month since 2008. In June, terrorism and other violence claimed 761 Iraqi lives. And in July, the death toll hit 1,057, UNAMI said.

Insurgent attacks against civilians and security forces persist in the country, though violence has dropped dramatically since the peak of Sunni-Shiite clashes in 2006 and 2007.

Baghdad's Shiite-dominated government has blamed the recent attacks on Sunni insurgents with ties to al Qaeda.

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