Tara Fares was a 22-year-old Iraqi model who was shot and killed in her car in Baghdad on Thursday night, just a day after she was voted one of Iraq’s most followed online stars.
She was taken to Baghdad’s Sheik Zayed hospital where doctors reported that the model had at least three bullet wounds.
The influencer was well known on Iraq’s fledgling beauty pageant circuit and had competed in the Miss Iraq and Miss Baghdad contests.
She lived in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan but recently spent an increasing amount of time in Baghdad as her career progressed.
Fares had 2.7 million followers on Instagram and uploaded occasional vlogs to her YouTube channel.
A photo uploaded to her account after her death showed her with angel wings made of light.
“Sleep well princess, we will miss you,” the caption said, in English and Arabic.
It is unclear who uploaded the photo.
As fans mourned Fares, speculation mounted on social media that she was killed because she was viewed as a provocative figure in Iraq, where attitudes to women can be conservative.
She had been threatened frequently, which led her to move to Erbil, according to Bas news.
“The fragile masculinity of those who have access to arms in Iraq is staggering,” one user wrote on Twitter.
The model’s killing is another in a string of deaths in which Iraqi women have been shot or have died in mysterious circumstances.
Rafeef al-Yaseri and Rasha al-Hassan, who both worked in Iraq’s beauty industry, died separately in August in their homes, according to Kurdistan 24.
The causes of death were unknown but social media users were quick to link the deaths to the shootings of Fares and Suad al-Ali, a human rights activist who was shot and killed in Basra just days ago.
Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior has announced an investigation into Fares’ murder.