Monday, November 16, 2009

13 Sunni Arab men murdered

'In a massacre that revived memories of Iraq's worst years of sectarian bloodshed, assailants dressed in Iraqi army uniforms savagely killed 13 men and boys late Sunday near the restive city of Abu Ghraib, according to Iraqi officials and villagers.

Most of the victims - some of whom reportedly were beheaded, while others were shot and then mutilated - were members of the Awakening, a Sunni Muslim movement that with U.S. backing and funding has fought the terrorist group al-Qaida in Iraq.

Residents and security officials said that shortly before midnight, armed men in civilian vehicles raided two villages near Abu Ghraib - a city to the west of Baghdad that houses a major prison - took captives to a nearby cemetery named Seyid Mhimmed and killed them.

"I believe they were targeted because they formed Sahwas (Awakening councils) in the area and fought back al-Qaida," said Ibraheem Ismail, who described himself as a first cousin of seven of the victims and more distantly related to the rest.

Among the dead were a father and two sons, three brothers and several local leaders, including the sheik of the local mosque, who was a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a major Sunni political group.'

Update: 'The mayor of Abu Ghraib, Shakir al-Zubaie, told The Associated Press that none of the people killed in the nearby village of al-Saadan were members of the local Awakening Council, but said some had fought against al-Qaida for a short time in early 2008.'

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