Mass grave found in Baghdad suburb

Grisly discovery made as Iraqi and US forces continue raids against al-Qaeda members.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq held sway over Sunni towns such as Dora before the turn tide against it this year
Al-Qaeda in Iraq held sway over Sunni towns such as Dora before the turn tide against it this year
They were discovered in an area of Dora that overlooks the main highway leading to Shia shrine cities in the south.
The remains were placed in black plastic bags and transferred to a Shia mosque in Dora, according to a police officer at the mosque. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release information.
An Associated Press photographer at the Kazimain mosque counted 33 plastic bags, and police said each bag held the remains of one victim.
Deadly clashes
Elsewhere, Iraqi soldiers on Saturday raided a Sunni village about 60km north of Baquba looking for al-Qaeda fighters, the Iraqi army said. Two soldiers and four fighters were killed in the fighting.
The US military said US troops killed seven suspected fighters and detained 10 in raids across central and northern Iraq.

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In Mosul, police detained 13 members of a new anti-government group, Jihad and Liberation, provincial police said.

The group was arrested when Iraqi soldiers raided their hideouts in the eastern part of the city.
On Friday, reports said that 600 US and Iraqi soldiers had launched an air and ground assault on two villages 20km south of Baghdad allegedly sheltering al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters.
Some 150 Iraqi soldiers participated in the operation, Major Alayne Conway, spokeswoman for the US army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said.
Iran role praised
The Iraqi government’s spokesman said on Saturday that Iran appears to be holding to its pledge to halt the flow of weapons and people across the border.
Ali al-Dabbagh said in Baghdad that Iran had also played a role in persuading Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia leader, to call a halt to the activities of his Mahdi Army militia.
“Iran is showing more restraint in sending people and weapons to  destabilise Iraq,” he said.
Al-Dabbagh said that while violence levels are declining in Iraq, there has been little progress in political reconciliation due to sectarian divides and lack of trust.
He further said that two Shia former officials from Iraq’s health ministry will be tried over the killing and kidnapping of hundreds of Sunni Arabs.
“They were presented in court last week. A date for trial will be fixed by a judge,” he said.
Kirkuk referendum
On the political front, Iraq’s parliament on Saturday ordered an inquiry into the delay of a referendum over whether Kirkuk will join the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north.

Kirkuk, an ethnically volatile city, is claimed by both Arabs and Kurds.


“Iran is showing more restraint in sending people and weapons to  destabilise Iraq

Ali al-Dabbagh,
Iraq government’s spokesman

The Iraqi constitution requires that a referendum on the future status of the oil-rich city be held by the end of this year to determine whether it will remain under Baghdad’s control, become part of Kurdistan or gain autonomy from both.

Iraqi legislators hotly debated the issue on Saturday, with some warning that a deadlock on a stipulated referendum concerning the northern oil hub could lead to new civil strife.
“If the issue of Kirkuk is not solved, it will lead to hell,” Hadi al-Ameri, a parliamentarian from the powerful Shia party the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), said.
Abbas al-Bayati, a Shia Turkman legislator, said the issue could lead to civil war.
Reported kidnapped
In other news, an Iraqi television station reported on Saturday that one of its reporters had been kidnapped.
The satellite TV station al-Baghdadiya said Muntadhar al-Zaidi, 28, one of its reporters, disappeared on Friday.
A colleague phoned al-Zaidi around noon on Friday, and a stranger answered his cell phone with the words “Forget Muntadhar”, according to an editor at the station.
Al-Baghdadiya broadcasts from Cairo, Egypt, and is often critical of the Iraqi government and the US military presence here. It is perceived as pro-Sunni.
The station has already lost two reporters to the violence.
Source : News Agencies


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