Dozens of bodies found in Baghdad
By Ross Colvin
Tue Oct 10, 8:44 PM ET
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi police found 50 bodies dumped across Baghdad on Tuesday, apparent victims of sectarian death squads, and a bombing at a bakery in the capital killed 10 people in the biggest single attack of the day.
The discovery of the bodies, many tortured and all shot, brought to at least 110 the number found in Baghdad in the past two days, an Interior Ministry official said.
A bomb placed under a car outside a bakery in the mostly Sunni Arab southern Baghdad district of Doura reduced the shop to rubble and killed 10 people, many who had been queuing outside to buy bread, police said.
At least 25 others were killed in bombings and shootings around
Iraq, police and Interior Ministry officials said.
Iraq has been gripped by Sunni-Shi'ite bloodletting since the bombing of a revered Shi'ite Muslim shrine in February. The
United Nations estimates 100 Iraqis die violently every day.
The violence rages on largely unchecked despite U.S. efforts to build up Iraq's fledgling security forces, a major security crackdown in the capital and a series of peace plans by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's four-month-old government.
Dozens of explosions rocked the capital for several hours on Tuesday night, alarming residents more used to sporadic mortar and rocket attacks, but the U.S. military said the cause was a fire at an ammunition dump at a U.S. base in southern Baghdad.
"The fire ignited tank and artillery ordnance as well as small arms ammunition," the military said in a statement.
U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver told Reuters the cause of the fire, which lit up the night sky, was under investigation.
The Islamic Army in Iraq, one of a number of militant groups operating in the country, claimed responsibility for the attack.
"The Islamic Army ... (launched) rockets and mortar bombs ... at a base for the occupying American forces. Explosions could be heard in Baghdad," said the statement signed by the group and posted on a Web site often used by Islamist militants.
There were no immediate reports of casualties. A spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Withington, said the base had been safely evacuated.
Three U.S. Marines were killed in action in Anbar province in western Iraq on Monday, the U.S. military said. Anbar is the heartland of the Sunni insurgency against Maliki's Shi'ite-led government and U.S. forces.
The deaths brought to at least 37 the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq since the start of October.
The U.S. military said on Tuesday it killed seven insurgents in an air strike on a building in Ramadi, capital of Anbar, after U.S. troops came under "extremely heavy fire."
U.S. officials had predicted a surge in violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began in late September.
Maliki's government is under growing pressure, particularly from Washington, to rein in sectarian militias, several of which are tied to parties within his own government and are accused of infiltrating the police to provide cover for killings.
Most of the bodies found dumped in Baghdad's streets had been shot in the head execution-style and bore signs of torture, typical features of sectarian death squad killings that the Interior Ministry says claims about 50 lives a day.
A ministry official had earlier reported the discovery of 60 bodies in the 24 hours until Tuesday morning, but a further 50 were found during the day, officials said.
(Additional reporting by Aseel Kami and Mariam Karouny)
That major security crackdown in the capital referenced above was Operation Forward Together, announced with much fanfare at the beginning of the summer. This joint US-Iraqi show of force in Baghdad was supposed to make the city safe and secure, and give Iraqis confidence that their new government was up to the task of providing security aroudn the country.
It's hard to describe this program as anything other than a monumental failure. No wonder that only 3% of the populace thinks things are going "very well" in Iraq.