Outrage over Iraqi model's murder, probe underway


(Photo: CGTN)

An Iraqi social media star and model Tara Fares has been shot dead in the capital, Baghdad. She was attacked at the wheel of her Porsche while driving in central Baghdad on Thursday. 

According to a statement by Iraq's interior ministry, two gunmen opened fire at her before fleeing the crime spot. The government has also ordered an investigation into her murder. 

Shortly after her death, a black-and-white photo showing Fares pouting was shared on her Instagram account along with the statement saying: "In a treacherous and cowardly incident, Tara Fares Chamoun, is with god. We asked god to accept her with his great mercy."

As fans mourned her death, speculation mounted on social media that religious fanatics killed her because she was considered as a bold and fearless figure in Iraq. 

An Iraqi satirist, Ahmad al-Basheer who lives in exile in Jordan after having received death threats, condemned the murder.

"Anyone who finds excuses for those who kill a girl just because she had decided to live like most other girls on the planet is an accomplice to her murder," tweeted Basheer. 

Who was Tara Fares?

Tara Fares, 22, was one of Iraq's most famous social media personalities with over 2.7 million followers on her Instagram account. The model was known for her daring outfits, tattoos and different hairstyles.

She lived in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan region but was spending increasing amount of time in Baghdad. 

In the past, the social media influencer had also competed in the Miss Iraq and Miss Baghdad contests

Fares, it seems was aware of the threat to her life. In an Instagram post in July, she wrote: "It does not frighten me that there are those who reject the existence of god. What really frightens me is there are those who kill and slaughter to prove the existence of god."

A dangerous trend?

Fares' death comes just two days after a female human rights activist Suad al-Ali was murdered in the city of Basra. Ali was actively involved in organizing demonstrations against poor infrastructure and contaminated water in the region. Last month, two well-known beauty experts died in mysterious circumstances in Baghdad, leading many Iraqis to believe that the deaths may have been part of a planned conspiracy to target influential women.