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Iraqi model and social media icon Tara Fares shot dead in Baghdad

Fares's murder is one of several mysterious deaths of workers and influencers from Baghdad's beauty and modelling world
Iraqi model Tara Fares, 22, was a former beauty queen who had millions of Instagram followers (Instagram\its.tarafares)

A famous Iraqi model and social media icon was shot dead on Thursday morning by unknown gunmen in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, according to Kurdistan 24.

Tara Fares, a 22-year-old, was a Baghdad beauty queen in 2015 and has nearly three million followers on Instagram.

The Iraqi Ministry of Interior said that unknown assailants opened fire at Fares in Baghdad’s Kam Sara neighbourhood. Sheikh Zaid hospital, where she was taken at 5:45am, said that the model died after suffering three bullet wounds.

It is unclear who killed Fares or the motives behind her murder. Fares was not active in politics or human rights. 

The interior ministry said it had opened an investigation into her shooting.

Fares lived in Erbil, the capital of the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan, but had been moving back and forth to Baghdad.

Her fans posted expressions of sorrow on social media, highlighting how she had been an icon for many Iraqi women in a country torn by violence and conflict.

Her death comes in the wake of the deaths of Rafeef al-Yasiri, the owner of Barbie Medical Centre, and Rasha al-Hassan, a beauty expert and owner and manager of a beauty centre.

Yaseri and Hassan both died under mysterious circumstances in their respective homes in Baghdad, days apart from one another in August.

The beauticians’ deaths raised anxieties over militias and armed groups possibly targeting beauty centre owners, with some linking the deaths to Turkish and Iranian beauty mafias operating in Baghdad - and Fares' death has further fuelled such fears.

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