Wed, Jul 12, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Gunmen kill Iraqi funeral party

BLOODY MESS While the death toll continued to rise in Iraq yesterday, an al-Qaeda linked group posted a video of two dead US soldiers on the Internet

AGENCIES , BAGHDAD AND DUBAI

Iraqis grieve during the funeral of a relative in Baqubah yestrday. At least 15 people were killed across Iraq yesterday, including 10 Shiites who were massacred in Baghdad, as violence engulfed the capital despite a much-touted security clampdown.

PHOTO: AFP

Gunmen in Baghdad intercepted a minivan carrying a coffin to the Shiite holy city of Najaf yesterday, killing all 10 people on board, police said.

The attackers pulled up in two cars and ordered the minivan to stop before opening fire in the volatile southern neighborhood of Dora, police Lieutenant Thaer Mahmoud said, providing the casualty toll.

Mahmoud and Captain Firas Qeiti said those killed were Shiites taking a coffin to be buried in Najaf, 160km south of Baghdad, a common practice.

A bomb planted under a fuel tanker exploded between a market and a medical center in the southeastern Baghdad suburb of Nahrawan, killing two people and wounding 18, Lieutenant Bilal Ali said. It sparked a fire, but the blaze was extinguished by firefighters, Ali said.

Gunmen killed an engineer with Iraq's North Oil Co. and his driver in Kirkuk, 290km north of Baghdad.

Gunmen also ambushed a minivan in Taji, 20km north of Baghdad, killing one passenger and wounding five, Lieutenant Mohammad Khayoun said.

Police also said gunmen opened fire on an Iraqi army convoy near Sharqat, 260km northwest of Baghdad on Monday evening, killing nine soldiers and wounding three.

Meanwhile, a group led by al-Qaeda in Iraq released gruesome footage of two corpses it said were of US soldiers killed last month, and dedicated the video to an Iraqi girl allegedly raped and shot dead by US forces.

The video, issued by the Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq and posted on an Islamist Web site yesterday, showed the bodies of two Western-looking men dressed in camouflage uniforms. It was not clear from the images whether they were US soldiers.

One body had been decapitated. Both were bloodied and with flesh missing from several parts of their bodies. Several shots showed the bodies being trodden on by unidentified men.

"We present this production, of the remains of the bodies of the two American soldiers kidnapped near Yusufiya, as revenge to our sister whose honor was violated by a soldier from the same regiment," the Mujahideen Shura Council said in a statement accompanying the video.

The video opened with a statement from al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the voice of his slain deputy in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, could also be heard.

In Washington, there was no immediate comment on the video from US officials.

Private First Class Kristian Menchaca and Private First Class Thomas Tucker, kidnapped and killed in Iraq, were from the same unit as a former private now charged with the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and the murder of three of her family in March.

Former private Steven Green has pleaded not guilty in a US federal court to rape and four counts of murder. Four soldiers in his former unit, the 502nd Infantry Regiment, face the same charges.

Another soldier, apparently a sixth member of Green's former unit, was charged with dereliction of duty for not reporting the crime.

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