Iraqi police find up to 30 decomposed bodies northwest of Baghdad

Iraqi police say they have discovered up to 30 badly decomposed bodies, including women and children, beside a lake northwest of Baghdad. Police Lt. Muthana Shakir says authorities discovered the bodies Saturday as they were escorting a crew from Al-Iraqiya TV near Lake Tharthar, some 25 kilometers best of Samarra. Shakir estimates police discovered 25 to 30 bodies, but their advanced stage of decomposition made it difficult to determine an exact number. The police officer says spent bullet cartridges were discovered next to the bodies, many of which were handcuffed. The area around Lake Tharthar was an al-Qaida in Iraq stronghold for several years until US-backed Sunni groups moved against the terrorist organization in 2007.