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Iraq bus attack kills 52 prisoners, nine police

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 00:33

Fifty-two prisoners and nine policemen were killed in a shooting and bombing attack on a bus near Baghdad, which was transporting prisoners from a military base. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) A shooting and bombing attack on a bus near Baghdad has left 52 prisoners and nine policemen dead. Ministry of Justice sources say the bus was transporting prisoners from a military base in the town of Taji to Baghdad, when it was hit by roadside bombs. Gunmen then opened fire. The motive for the attack was not immediately clear but it came amid political tension, with politicians facing pressure to form a power-sharing government that can tackle a Sunni insurgency. Much of Iraq's recent bloodshed is linked to sectarian divisions that have deepened since Sunni militants formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized large swathes of northern Iraq last month and declared an Islamic empire. Sunni militants have been carrying out attacks around the southern edge of Baghdad while in response, Shi'ite militias have been active in rural districts of Baghdad, abducting Sunnis they suspect of militancy. Many later turn up dead. The tit-for-tat attacks have escalated dramatically since the Sunni militant advance towards Baghdad, the most serious challenge to the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki since the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011.Mass killings of scores of victims have become a regular occurrence in Iraq for the first time since the worst days of sectarian and ethnic cleansing in 2006-2007. In June, 69 prisoners were killed while being transported from an outlying town to a jail in Baghdad. The official account, given by the governor of Hilla, was that militants had attacked the convoy, killing 10 prisoners and one policeman. But a police captain, a second police officer and a senior local official told Reuters no attack took place, and that police had killed the 69 men.

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Iraq bus attack kills 52 prisoners, nine police

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 00:33