Iraqi activists in the southern city of Basra have been targeted in a string of killings and attempted assassinations, with two young organisers gunned down in less than a week.
Rogue militia groups are widely suspected by analysts and activists of being responsible. The killings threaten to undermine new Iraqi prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who has pledged to rein in militias acting outside state control and to protect protesters who have been demanding reforms over the past year.
After Mr Kadhimi took office in May, the authorities arrested a small group suspected of being responsible for assaults on protesters in Basra. A month later, security forces detained members of one of the most prominent Iran-backed militias. But the men were subsequently released. And in July, Hisham al-Hashemi, a close adviser to the prime minister, was shot dead in Baghdad in an incident which many suspected to be retaliation.