65 bodies found in latest Iraq bloodshed

The men were tortured and then shot before being dumped.

baghdad market 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
baghdad market 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Police on Wednesday said they found the bodies of 65 men who had been tortured and then shot before being dumped around Baghdad and just south of the capital, where two car bombs and two mortar attacks killed at least 39 people and injured dozens of others. Two US soldiers were also killed, one Monday from enemy action in restive Anbar province and the other Tuesday by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad, the US military command said Wednesday. The US military said it could not confirm all the executions and said the numbers they had for the bodies so far was lower than that reported by police. "It is looking like about a 50 percent discrepancy," said Maj. Josslyn Aberle, chief of the media relations division for the Multi-National Corps-Iraq. The reason for the divergence was not immediately clear. The confusion over numbers underscores the difficulty of obtaining accurate death tolls in Iraq, which lacks the reporting and tracking systems of most modern nations. Police said 60 of the bodies were found overnight scattered around Baghdad, with the majority dumped in predominantly Sunni neighborhoods, police said. All the bodies were bound, bore signs of torture and had been shot, police 1st Lt. Thayer Mahmoud said. Such killings are usually the work of death squads, operated by both Sunni and Shiite gangs and militias, who kidnap people and usually torture them with power drills or beat them badly before shooting them. The head of Iraq's largest Sunni political bloc called on Shi'ite prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to honor a pledge to disband militias. Sunnis blame many Shi'ite militias for equipping many of the death squads. "We hope the government carries out what it pledged and disband militias and considers them terrorist organizations," Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Iraqi Accordance Front said. His party holds 44 seats in the 275-member parliament. "Their presence is deteriorating the situation and bringing more troubles to the political atmosphere." al-Dulaimi added. "We call upon all religious authorities to raise their voices and demand militias be disarmed." According to Iraqi police, 45 of the bodies were discovered in predominantly Sunni parts of western Baghdad. The rest were found in predominantly Shi'ite areas of eastern Baghdad. Another five bodies were found floating down the Tigris river in Suwayrah, 40 kilometers south of Baghdad, according to police Lt. Mohammed al-Shimari. In the capital, a car bomb killed at least 19 people and wounded more than 62 after it detonated in a large square used mostly as a parking lot near the main headquarters of Baghdad's traffic police department, police Cap. Mohammed Abdel-Ghani said. But the US military reported the death toll at 15 killed and 25 wounded and said the blast was caused by two car bombs. In past years, the square was used to test people trying to get their drivers license. In eastern Baghdad, a parked car bomb exploded next to a passing Iraqi police patrol in the Zayona neighborhood, killing at least 12 people and wounding 34, the US military reported. That number was higher than the 8 originally reported by Iraqi police.