Al-Qaeda fighters killed five policemen at a Baghdad checkpoint on Tuesday and planted the black flag of the terror network's front group in Iraq, according to a government official.
The flag-planting was the second such move in less than a week and comes as concerns mount that Iraq's security may be deteriorating after the government said more people died in violence in July than in any month since May 2008, AFP reports.
The shootings followed a brazen series of attacks in the Iraqi capital last week that killed 16 people, after which insurgents also planted the al-Qaeda front group's black flag.
The violence comes after Iraqi figures compiled by the ministries of health, interior and defence showed 535 people were killed by violence in July, the highest monthly figure in more than two years.
The United States military, however, has disputed those figures, saying they are grossly overstated.