Thu, Jul 22, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Torture suspected in death of scientist found slain near mosque in Samarra

AFP , SAMARRA, IRAQ

Members of the Iraqi army's Intervention Force ride in a truck during a counterinsurgency patrol in Baghdad on Tuesday.

PHOTO: EPA

The mutilated body of an Iraqi scientist and an unidentified corpse were found yesterday in Samarra, where clashes the previous day between insurgents and US troops left five Iraqis dead and eight injured, police and hospital sources said.

In further unrest in the north of the country, one police officer was killed and four were wounded when their patrol was targeted by rocket-propelled grenade fire.

"Two bodies were found at 330am," said police Major Sadun al-Delemi at the city's hospital.

Bassem al-Mudares, a drug company worker who had a chemistry doctorate, was found near a mosque.

"It looked as though he had been tortured as his body was mutilated," Delemi said.

The toll from Tuesday's fighting rose to five dead and eight wounded, he said.

US soldiers manning an observation post said they were attacked with mortar rounds and small-arms fire from a house and a mosque.

"Two tanks protecting the observation post returned fire on the house and destroyed it," the US military said in a statement late Tuesday. "Aerial observation was called in to help ground troops locate anti-Iraqi forces," the US statement said.

Troops later came under fire from various locations, including two other houses. The army added that it called in "close air support" and that the battle was continuing.

Powerful explosions rocked Samarra's northern edge as mosques started urging residents over loudspeakers to donate blood.

The city has been the scene of sporadic deadly clashes since a powerful suicide car bomb attack on July 8 on the city's Iraqi National Guard headquarters killed five US soldiers and four Iraqi guardsmen.

Iraq's security services were under attack in the oil city of Kirkuk, 225km north of Baghdad.

Unknown attackers opened fire on a police patrol, killing one officer and injuring four, three of them seriously, said Lieutenant Hussein Allawi, chief of the al-Aruba police station.

"One of the police station's patrols was attacked by a rocket-propelled grenade when it was crossing Grenada bridge," he said, adding that the wounded had been rushed to a hospital.

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