Twenty guardsmen were found lying dead on Tuesday in an area northwest of the Iraqi city of Mosul, Aljazeera has learned.

   

A Reuters correspondent in Iraq's third largest city on Tuesday said he saw the bodies of six young men, all shot in the head as if executed.
 

They wore civilian clothes and their identities were not clear.

   

A hospital official said eight similar bodies had been found in a cemetery in the west of the city on Monday.


Dozens of bodies, many from the Iraqi security forces, have turned up in Mosul since fighters routed the US-trained police force in November and briefly took control of the city.

 

Victims 

 

Other corpses, the victims of attacks and banditry, turn up regularly across Iraq.

 

Mosul has witnessed heavy
fighting in recent days

Mosul has witnessed intense clashes in recent days. On Saturday, a US military spokesman said a firefight broke out as fighters attacked a US military patrol that was trying to seize an arms dump.

 

The fighters set off a car bomb and then opened fire with rifles, grenade launchers and mortars on the unit that moved on to the arms cache. Troops later destroyed the weapons.

 

Meanwhile, caught in the crossfire, Mosul residents say schools and shops have closed as fighting continues.

 

"There is no government and people are afraid to leave their homes. We have nothing to do but stay at home," Muhammad Ahmad, 41, a teacher, told Aljazeera.net.