51 dead in throwback to Iraq`s sectarian bloodshed
A wave of violence today killed 51 people in Iraq, most of whom were kidnapped and shot dead with their corpses abandoned, in scenes harking back to Iraq`s sectarian war.
Baghdad: A wave of violence today killed 51 people in Iraq, most of whom were kidnapped and shot dead with their corpses abandoned, in scenes harking back to Iraq`s sectarian war.
The killings come amid a surge in violence that has left more than 600 people dead this month, including several who were snatched from their homes, only for their bodies to be found later, fuelling fears Iraq is slipping back into the communal bloodshed that plagued it from 2005 to 2007.
More than 6,000 people have been killed this year, forcing Baghdad to appeal for international help in battling militancy just months before a general election, as official concern focuses on a resurgent Al-Qaeda emboldened by the war in neighbouring Syria.
Violence today struck in Baghdad and mostly Sunni Arab parts of the north and west, with shootings and bombings targeting civilians, local officials, security forces and even a brothel.
But the most troubling of the bloodshed came early today morning, when authorities discovered the bodies of 18 men, including two tribal chiefs, four policemen and an army major, dumped in farmland near the Sunni Arab town of Tarmiyah, just north of Baghdad.
All of them had been shot in the head and chest, police and a medical source said.
The kidnappers, wearing military uniform and travelling in what appeared to be army vehicles, abducted the men early today, telling their families the men were suspects in various cases and were being taken for questioning.
Their bodies were found hours later, the sources said.
There was another such incident in Salaheddin province, north of Baghdad. Seven men - all maintenance workers and labourers at a local football field - were found dead, their throats cut.
A police officer said he had felt physically sick upon seeing the mutilated corpses.
Three more corpses, all women, were also found in east Baghdad, their bodies bearing signs of torture. They were all shot in the head earlier today, officials said.
The brutal killings come just days after authorities discovered the bodies of 19 people shot dead in various parts of Baghdad, including eight found blindfolded and six whose corpses were left in a canal.