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Former ‘Miss Baghdad’ Shot Dead as She Drove Through Iraqi Capital in Latest of Series of Attacks on Women

Iraqi security officials released a surveillance video showing the moment of the shooting of Iraqi social media star and model Tara Fares on Thursday in Baghdad on Sept. 27, 2018. (Credit: CNN)

Iraqi security officials released a surveillance video showing the moment of the shooting of Iraqi social media star and model Tara Fares on Thursday in Baghdad on Sept. 27, 2018. (Credit: CNN)

Iraqi social media star and model Tara Fares has been shot dead in Baghdad, security officials confirmed to CNN.

The death of Fares and other recent killings prompted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to order an investigation on Friday.

The former Miss Baghdad, and first runner-up for Miss Iraq, was killed on Thursday after gunmen opened fire on her in the capital’s Camp Sarah neighborhood, according to a statement by Iraq’s Interior Ministry, which is investigating the incident.

Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Saad Maan told an Iraqi TV station that two motorcyclists shot Fares while she was inside a vehicle.

The 22-year-old, a Christian whose father was Iraqi and mother Lebanese, was living in Erbil, but visited the capital occasionally. She was famous for her bold clothing and posts on social media.

View this post on Instagram

Gucci on ma shirt 🎈🐸

A post shared by Tara Fares | تاره فارس (@its.tarafares) on

A black-and-white photo showing Fares pouting was shared with her nearly 3 million Instagram followers shortly after her death, along with the comment: “In a treacherous and cowardly incident, Tara Fares Chamoun, is with God. We asked God to accept her with His great mercy.”

A disturbing trend, an ongoing investigation

Fares’ death comes just two days after a female human rights activist was killed in the southern city of Basra.

Suaad al-Ali was shot and killed in an outdoor market by an unknown gunman, according to security sources. Officials said investigations were still underway.

And last month, two well-known women in Baghdad’s beauty industry also died.

Rafeef al-Yaseri, known as the “Barbie of Iraq,” was killed inside her Baghdad home on August 16. Al-Yaseri was a plastic surgeon and organized national programs specializing in medical affairs for women.

One week later, Rasha al-Hassan, owner and manager of Viola Beauty Center in Baghdad, was found dead inside her home. Health Ministry spokesman Seif al-Badr said at the time that al-Hassan had died at her home, where preliminary investigations did not point to a reason for the death.

Al-Abadi ordered the Interior Ministry and Iraq’s intelligence department to investigate the assassinations and kidnappings in Basra, Baghdad and elsewhere, the ministry said in a statement.