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Murder of Iraqi novelist stirs fear, outrage

A popular Iraqi writer was killed by unknown gunmen, stoking already rampant fears of violence among educated Iraqis.

Iraqis and foreigners flooded the 46th annual Baghdad International Book Fair to see the latest publications of hundreds of Iraqi and Arab publishing houses, enjoy musical performances and poetry evenings and meet dozens of well-known writers, economists and other public figures.

But the bustling cultural scene, which will run through Feb. 18, is darkened by the shadow of a terrific crime targeting one of Iraq's outspoken novelists, Alaa Mashzoub, earlier this month. On the evening of Feb. 2, Mashzoub was shot in front of his Karbala home and died at the scene at the age of 50.

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