More bodies found in Iraq

In the past 24 hours, Iraqi police have found the bodies of at least 85 men killed by gunfire, execution style, in a gruesome wave of apparent sectarian killing.

    The killings are blamed on sectarian violence

    They include at least 27 bodies stacked in a mass grave in an eastern Shia neighbourhood.

    Much of the bloodshed - the second wave of mass killings in Iraq since bombers destroyed an important Shia shrine last month - followed deadly weekend explosions in a teeming Shia slum in which 58 people died and more than 200 were wounded.


    Most of the discarded corpses were found in the capital and three in the northern city of Mosul, police said.

    Acting on an anonymous tip, police found a six-by-eight-metre hole in a empty field. It contained at least 27 dead men - most of them in their underwear - in Kamaliyah, a mostly Shia east Baghdad suburb, said Interior Ministry official Lt.Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi.

    He estimated they had been killed about three days ago.


    Abandoned minibus

    Local residents offered scarves to help cover the bodies, which were laid out on the ground. Police guarded the site as members of a Shia militia dug for more corpses. An AP photographer took pictures of the grave but was warned not to publish them.

    An abandoned minibus containing 15 more bodies was found earlier on the main road between two mostly Sunni west Baghdad neighbourhoods - not far from where another minibus containing 18 bodies was discovered last week, said al-Mohammedawi.


    The violence has complicated
    negotiations for the government

    At least 40 more bodies were recovered in Baghdad, including both Sunni and Shia neighbourhoods, said al-Mohammedawi.

    They included four men shot in the head execution-style and hanged from electricity pylons in Sadr City, where two car bombs and four mortar rounds shattered shops and market stalls at nightfall on Sunday, as residents shopped for food for their evening meals.

    The violence since the 22 February bombing of the famed golden dome atop the al-Askari shrine in Samarra has complicated negotiations for Iraq's first permanent, post-invasion government.

    Editor killed

    Unknown gunmen have assassinated the chief editor of an Iraqi magainze, police said.

    Mohsin Khudair of Alif-Baa weekly was killed when gunmen opened fire at a group of civilians in al-Saidiya of west Baghdad.

    Three others were wounded in the shooting.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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