Iraqis: 33 decomposed bodies found in mass grave

A mass grave containing the bodies of 33 men, women and children has been found in a former Sunni insurgent stronghold north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said Saturday. Amer Riffat of the Diyala provincial council said the bodies were discovered Saturday near Khalis. A police officer said the bodies showed signs of being blindfolded and shot. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to discuss the matter. Police said they believe the victims were killed by al-Qaida in Iraq, who wielded sway in the area before a recent downturn in violence. Mass graves have been turning up with increasing frequency as US and Iraqi military operations have cleared former militant strongholds and allowed patrols there.