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Gunmen fire on Iraqi liquor stores; 11 dead

Up north, Kurdish rebels returned under a peace deal.

HEROR, Iraq - A convoy of gunmen opened fire on a row of liquor stores in eastern Baghdad immediately after sunset on Tuesday, killing 11 people and wounding five others, officials said.

Police said the gunmen were in four cars that had stopped in the area and attacked shortly after sunset. Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to media.

The attack in the Zayouna neighborhood came as the stores were at their peak business time, when commuters buy alcohol on the way home from work. Police say the four liquor stores hit had been rebuilt after bombers destroyed them in a previous attack last year.

Nobody claimed responsibility, although Islamic extremists have frequently targeted liquor stores in Iraq, where alcohol is available in most cities.

Meanwhile in the country's north, the first Kurdish fighters entered Iraq from Turkey as part of a peace deal with Ankara to end a decades-long uprising despite Iraqi objections to the transfer.

The rebels' retreat to bases in Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdish region is a key stage in the peace process between the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, and the Turkish government, aimed at ending one of the world's bloodiest insurgencies.

The PKK declared a cease-fire in March, heeding a call from its imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is engaged in talks with Turkey to end a nearly 30-year battle that has cost tens of thousands of lives.

Carrying rifles and hand grenades, the first 13 men and women arrived Tuesday in Heror in the Iraqi Kurdish area and were greeted by comrades serving refreshments of tea and cookies.