BAGHDAD: Gunmen in Baghdad killed the coach of the Iraqi national tennis team and two players, reportedly for wearing Western-style tennis shorts, an Iraqi Olympic official said Friday.
The coach, Hussein Ahmed Rashid, was murdered along with two of his players, Nasser Ali Hatem and Wissam Adel Auda, outside his home in the capital's southern al-Saidiyah neighborhood on Thursday, Olympic Committee chairman Amr Jabar said.
A witness, who asked not to be named, said the shorts-clad tennis players had just left some laundry at the cleaners, when gunmen stopped their car and asked them to step out of the vehicle.
When two did so they were shot in the head. The third was then dragged from the car, thrown on the bodies of his teammates, and shot as he lay on the ground.
The gunmen then kicked the corpses before stealing the car and making their escape, the witness said.
He added that fundamentalists had been distributing leaflets recently warning residents of the area not to wear shorts.
The incident was one of a number of recent attacks targeting athletes in Iraq.
Last week 15 members of the Iraqi Taekwondo team were kidnapped between Fallujah and Ramadi, west of Baghdad, as they returned from a tournament in neighboring Jordan.
Their abductors have since demanded 100,000 dollars in ransom, the Olympic Committee said.
In February a former Iraqi wrestling champion was gunned down in front of his family in the southern port city of Basra.