Iraqi police find 18 men shot in head and seven decapitated

BAGHDAD Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:29am EST

Related Topics

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Police discovered the bodies of 18 men who had been abducted and shot in the head near Baghdad on Friday, and the decapitated corpses of seven men killed in a separate attack in northern Iraq.

The 18 bodies were found together in an orchard in Meshahda, a predominantly Sunni Muslim area around 30 km (20 miles) north of Baghdad. A senior police source blamed al Qaeda.

Such killings are on the rise in Iraq, alongside a growing insurgent campaign of bomb and gun attacks on security forces and civilians.

The victims in Meshahda were taken from their homes early on Friday by men wearing military uniforms and driving six SUVs, police sources said.

Among them were a police officer, an army official, the headmaster of a school, a Sunni tribal sheikh and his son.

"It is definitely al Qaeda because this is the area where they are operating," a senior official in Iraq's federal police said, declining to be named.

The victims may have been chosen because they were seen as supporting Iraq's Shi'ite-led government, the source added.

Abductors dressed as soldiers have often carried out such killings in the area.

AL QAEDA TARGETS

Although al Qaeda-linked militants in Iraq mainly carry out attacks on Shi'ites, they also target fellow Sunnis through kidnappings, killings and extortion.

Security officials, government employees from both sects and government-backed Sunni Sahwa militia members are all seen as prime targets for the Islamist group.

The goal of such attacks "is to weaken the relationship between the people and the security forces", Ali al-Haidari, an Iraqi security expert, told Reuters.

In the attack further north, police found the beheaded corpses of seven male laborers, two police sources said.

They had been dumped in a yard in a northern neighborhood of Tikrit, a city 150 km (90 miles) north of Baghdad. The victims, believed to be Sunnis, were all under 30 and had been working on the construction site of a stadium.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the violence, but security officials have described the area as being another stronghold of al Qaeda.

This year has been Iraq's most violent since 2006-7, when tens of thousands of people died at the height of sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shi'ites.

On Wednesday, police found the bodies of 13 people around Baghdad, the apparent victims of execution-style shootings.

(Additional reporting by Raheem Salman and Suadad al-Salhy in Baghdad and Ghazwan Hassan in Tikrit; Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Andrew Roche)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (8)
JamesReed wrote:
They were going to decapitate all of them but they had to stop and run to Walmart for a $100 30″ TV and a 150$ laptop!
Happy thanksgiving everyone!

Nov 29, 2013 9:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
feudi wrote:
Sounds like Thanksgiving is not real big in Iraq.

Nov 29, 2013 9:41am EST  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:
What did we get for our $4 trillion investment in Iraq and the lives of 4,500 US soldiers? Bush’s chance to “one up” his dad by getting Saddam Hussein. And the right wants to complain about Obama. Obama makes Bush look like an inept shoeshine boy.

Nov 29, 2013 9:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.