33 Bodies Found Scattered Across Baghdad

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Media: The Associated Press
Date: 05 September 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq_Police found the tortured, blindfolded bodies of 33 men
scattered across the capital and the U.S.-led coalition reported combat
deaths of seven servicemen, a day after Iraqi leaders said the capture of a
top terror suspect would reduce violence.

Iraqi soldiers also clashed Monday with gunmen near the holy city of Karbala
during an operation to secure the area ahead of a religious festival on
Saturday, leaving 14 gunmen and one soldier dead, the prime minister's
office said.

Kidnappers also dragged off a popular soccer star in Baghdad, while a
security crackdown in the city expanded into the upscale Mansour

An al-Qaida-affiliated group dismissed the Iraqi government's claim that the
organization's second most important leader had been arrested, suggesting
the man was not a senior figure and denying the terror group had suffered a
significant blow.

On Sunday, Iraq's national security adviser announced the arrest of Hamed
Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, also known as Abu Humam or Abu Rana, and said that
had left al-Qaida in Iraq suffering a "serious leadership crisis."

But the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab
extremist groups that includes al-Qaida in Iraq, issued a statement Monday
saying its "leadership was in the best condition."

The statement did not directly deny the arrest, or say what position
al-Saeedi held, although it suggested he was not the No. 2 leader.

The security adviser, Mouwafak al-Rubaie, described al-Saeedi as the second
most important al-Qaida in Iraq figure behind Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who is
believed to have taken over the group after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed
by a U.S. airstrike in June.

Al-Saeedi was involved in the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra,
al-Rubaie said. The attack inflamed tensions between Shiite and Sunni
Muslims and set off reprisal killings that have killed hundreds of Iraqis,
like those found in Baghdad on Monday.

Police said they the 33 bullet-riddled bodies all showed signs of torture
and had their hands and feet bound. The men had been dumped around several
neighborhoods, police said.

Two other bodies were found dumped on a highway in Kut, 100 miles southeast
of Baghdad. Both had been shot in the head and chest, said Maamoun Ajil
al-Robaiei at Kut hospital's morgue.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council's statement also said insurgents have been
inflicting heavy losses on U.S. troops in western Anbar province and in

The U.S.-led coalition said seven of its personnel had been killed the past
two days _ five Americans and two Britons.

On Sunday, two U.S. Marines were killed in Anbar and two Army soldiers died
from roadside bombs in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, and near
Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of the capital. Another soldier was killed
Monday by a roadside bomb. A sixth American died of non-combat injuries, the
military said.

In the south, a roadside bomb killed two British soldiers and seriously
wounded a third north of the southern city of Basra, a British military
spokesman, Maj. Charlie Burbridge, said.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett arrived in the capital Monday on
an unannounced visit _ her first to Iraq since taking up the post in May.

"We do not underestimate the challenges ahead," Beckett said in a statement.
"But we must not forget the progress made in the last twelve months in
bringing the first democratically elected national unity government to the
country, with a constitution voted for by the people."

South of the capital, Iraqi soldiers clashed with gunmen near the holy city
of Karbala during an operation to secure the city ahead of a Shiite
religious festival, the prime minister's office said. Tens of thousands of
Shiite pilgrims are expected in Karbala, 50 miles south of the capital on
Saturday to observe Shaaban, a mid-month religious celebration.

Fourteen gunmen were killed and another 22 were arrested, while one Iraqi
soldier was also killed and another was wounded, the statement said.

On Saturday, police said 13 Pakistani and Indian Shiite pilgrims and their
Iraqi driver had been ambushed and killed on their way to Karbala.

Assailants abducted Ghanim Ghudayer, a soccer star and member of Iraq's
Olympic team. Considered one of the best players on Baghdad's Air Force
Club, the 22-year-old was taken Sunday evening by unknown assailants, some
of whom were wearing military uniforms, police said.

The U.S.-led coalition said the Iraqi army had begun searching the capital's
Mansour district as part of a crackdown aimed at tackling violence in
Baghdad neighborhood by neighborhood. U.S. soldiers would "observe and
advise" during the operation, the military said.

The coalition also said five suspected insurgents and a child were killed
and a second child was wounded during a raid in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles
north of Baghdad. The raid targeted "an individual with ties to movement of
terrorist finances and foreign fighters into Iraq," the military said in a

The Iraqi Defense Ministry said that over the previous 24 hours, its troops
had killed 15 people suspected of involvement of insurgent activities. Iraqi
police said clashes between gunmen and Iraqi forces in Musayyib, 40 miles
south of Baghdad, resulted in the death of an Iraqi soldier and the arrest
of about 100 gunmen.

Disagreements continued over the handover of Iraq's armed forces command
from the U.S.-led coalition to the Iraqi government, and the Defense
Ministry said a ceremony to mark the transition had been postponed

The two sides still need "to complete some legal and protocol procedures
that will lead to a complete understanding between the Iraqi government and
the multinational troops," the ministry said.

Handing over control from the coalition to Iraqi authorities is a key part
of any eventual drawdown of U.S. troops in the country.