Eighteen gas pipeline workers have been shot dead in Iraq, security officials have confirmed.
15 Iranians and three Iraqis were killed during a gun rampage near Baquba – a predominantly Sunni Muslim city north east of the capital Baghdad and close to the border with Iran.
Officials said the murdered labourers were working on a pipeline transporting gas between the two countries at the time of the attack.
Another five Iranians and two Iraqis are said to have been seriously wounded.
The attack came just hours after at least 22 people being held for “issues related to terrorism” escaped from police custody in Baghdad.
Although the majority of the escapees were recaptured, between three and eight remain at large.