"Four Awakening Council members were found dead early Tuesday, apparently killed as they stood guard at a checkpoint in a northern neighborhood of the capital, the police said, continuing the escalation of violence against them in recent weeks.
Awakening Councils are neighborhood-based groups of Sunnis, many of them former insurgents, who are now paid by the Iraqi government. They are credited, along with the increase in American troops, with helping to diminish violence in Iraq.
But 15 Awakening members have been killed around the country this month, including five slain in the same Baghdad neighborhood as those who died in Tuesday’s attack.
Members of the Awakening, who typically operate checkpoints and provide security in Sunni neighborhoods, are often targets of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and other Sunni extremist groups. They regard the Awakening Councils as traitorous because many Awakening members quit insurgent groups to ally themselves with the United States military and the Iraqi government in return for steady pay."