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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

Iraqi model shot dead in Baghdad

Social media influencer's murder follows killing of female human rights activist in Basra

 

A screenshot from a video posted by Tara Fares on her Youtube channel.
A screenshot from a video posted by Tara Fares on her Youtube channel.

An Iraqi model and social media influencer was shot and killed on Thursday in Baghdad, just days after the murder of a female human rights activist in Basra.

Tara Fares, 22, was gunned down by unknown attackers, sparking outrage on social media, with Twitter users condemning the country's "lack of freedom and rights".

Others tweeted: "I was never a fan of Tara Fares but it saddens me to know that people like that still exist within our society. Feeling the need to murder one, simply because they go against whats considered normal."

Fares' body was taken to Baghdad's Sheik Zaid hospital where doctors confirmed she had died from three bullet wounds. Iraq's Ministry of Interior in a statement said they had opened an investigation into the killing.

The social media star, who won the title of Baghdad's beauty queen in 2015 and had almost three million followers on Instagram, was based in the more secure city of Erbil, in the Kurdistan Region, but frequently travelled to Baghdad.

On Tuesday Basra activist Soad Al Ali was shot in the head by masked attackers who opened fire on her and a man, reportedly her husband, as they were getting into a car.

Kurdish publication K24 reported that two beauticians in Baghdad died under mysterious circumstances in August, sparking concerns that women involved in the beauty industry were being targeted.

In all four cases the assailants have yet to be identified, but the huge influence of armed militias in the country is a source of concern for many Iraqi civilians. In Basra protesters have described a campaign of intimidation and arbitrary detentions by powerful militias and political groups.

Read more:

Outrage in Iraq over murder of prominent female activist