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Dozens killed in Baghdad attacks
by BBC (reposted)
Sunday Jul 9th, 2006 1:31 PM
Gunmen in the Iraqi capital Baghdad have killed at least 40 people at a fake police checkpoint, in an apparent sectarian attack against Sunni Muslims.
Police say Shia militants stopped cars in the western Jihad district, separated Sunnis and shot them.

Later, at least 25 people died when two car bombs exploded near a Shia mosque in the capital, police said.

There has been an upsurge in sectarian violence in Iraq in recent months, raising fears of a civil war.

Sunni Arabs say government-backed Shia militias are behind many of the attacks. But officials have denied any involvement.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond in Baghdad says the style and scale of Sunday morning's incident was breathtaking.

Witnesses said Shia militiamen entered Jihad and set up roadblocks.

Drivers were reportedly pulled from their cars and their identity cards inspected.

Any Sunni Muslims identified were then separated from the rest and killed.

"They also went into certain Sunni houses and killed everyone inside," said a witness quoted by AFP news agency.

Call for calm

Another told the Associated Press news agency: "They came and started shooting. One of my relatives tried to help but was also shot while doing so. What crime have my people committed, I ask?"

Officials say they are getting reports of drive-by shootings in the area, and the number of deaths is expected to rise.

by ALJ
Sunday Jul 9th, 2006 1:32 PM
At least 41 people have been killed at a fake checkpoint set up by Shia militia members in a predominantly Sunni area of Baghdad, police said.

The victims were gathered together, Sunnis were then separated according to the names on their identity cards and killed after about an hour, said Maitham Abdul-Razzaq, an Iraqi police lieutenant.

An Iraqi interior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said Shia militiamen wearing masks and black uniforms also roamed through the area, grabbing people from the street.

An imam at a local mosque told Aljazeera that the number killed could be as high as 50.

Police were searching for more victims reportedly left dumped in the streets.

The attack was apparently in retaliation for the car bombing the night before of a local Shia mosque that left two dead.

US and Iraqi forces sealed off the area and began searching for the attackers, Abdul-Razzaq said.

by UK Guardian (reposted)
Sunday Jul 9th, 2006 1:34 PM
At least 40 people, apparently all Sunnis, were killed today by Shia militants in a rampage in a Baghdad suburb - one of the capital's most deadly sectarian pogroms - that revived fears of civil war.

Witnesses said gunmen, some masked, set up roadblocks and stopped motorists in the mainly Sunni suburb of Jihad, near Baghdad airport, demanding to see identity cards. Those with Sunni names were shot dead; Shias were released.

The slaughter lasted several hours, according to Alaa Makki, a spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic party, one of the main Sunni parties, who blamed the Mahdi army, the Shia militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr. "There is a lot of evidence it was done by the Mahdi army," he told the Guardian by phone from Baghdad.

Mr Sadr, whose aides denied Mahdi army involvement, responded tonight by calling for calm and reconciliation between Shias and Sunnis "for the sake of Iraq's independence and stability".

But as evening fell, another 17 people were killed, this time Shias cut down by two car bombs exploding near a Shia mosque in northern Baghdad. Tonight, US forces were seeking to restore order with a two-day curfew.

Sectarian attacks have plagued Baghdad and other cities with mixed populations since the bombing in March in Samarra of a shrine sacred to Shias. But today's massacre stood out from previous incidents because of its scale and the insouciance of the killers. Attacks took place in daylight and on several streets.

The militia were also said to have gone into houses and detained people. In one case a family was murdered and the house was then set on fire. A police lieutenant, Maitham Abdul-Razzaq, said 37 bodies were taken to hospitals and police were searching for more victims reportedly dumped in the streets. Several houses were burning, other police sources said.

by UK Independent (reposted)
Sunday Jul 9th, 2006 1:41 PM
Masked Shiite gunmen went on a rampage Sunday in western Baghdad, pulling Sunni Arabs from cars and off the street and killing at least 41 people, police said, in a dramatic escalation of sectarian violence.

The rampage in the Jihad neighborhood was in apparent retaliation for the Saturday night car bombing of a Shiite mosque that killed two and wounded nine. Sunni leaders expressed outrage over the Sunday attacks, referring to them as a "massacre."

Police and witnesses said gunmen drove into the Jihad area in four cars at about 10 a.m. and began stopping vehicles. Those with identification cards indicating Sunni names were killed, they said. An Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said Shiite militiamen wearing masks and black uniforms also roamed the neighborhood, abducting Sunnis off the street.

Their bodies were later dumped on streets throughout the neighborhood, police said. Police Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq said 41 bodies had been collected and taken to hospitals. He also said U.S. and Iraqi forces had sealed off the area. Witnesses said the American forces were using loudspeakers to announce a two-day curfew. Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zubaie, a Sunni, also called the attack "a real and ugly massacre," and blamed Iraqi security forces, widely believed to have been infiltrated by Shiite militias, for failing to maintain order. "There are officers who instead of being in charge should be questioned and referred to judicial authorities," al-Zubaie told Al-Jazeera TV. "Jihad is witnessing a catastrophic crime."