16 Members of Shiite Family Killed by Gunmen in Iraq

Six children and eight women among the dead


(Reuters) - Gunmen shot dead 16 members of the same Shi'ite family before blowing up their two neighboring homes south of the Iraqi capital overnight, police and medics said.

The attack took place in the town of Latifiya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad. The dead included six children and eight women.

"Gunmen broke into our house overnight and shot my father four times in the head, they killed my two brothers, they killed my cousin, they were shooting everyone they saw, I escaped from the back door," said Haneen Mudhhir, crying in hospital.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack but Sunni Islamist militants, including an al Qaeda affiliate, have been striking with a ferocity not seen in years.