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18 bodies found in Baghdad bus

The bodies of 18 men and youths who had been strangled have been found in a minibus parked in west Baghdad.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 13:55 IST

Baghdad police found the bodies of 18 men, bound and blindfold, in a minibus close to a violent, mainly Sunni Arab, district of the capital, officials said on Wednesday.

It was unclear how the men died, an Interior Ministry spokesman said. One police source said they may have suffocated.

The identities of the men, found just before midnight near the Amriya district of western Baghdad, were not clear. Amriya has been a stronghold of Sunni insurgent groups.

The dumping of bodies bearing signs of torture and killed execution-style has become a feature of a sectarian "dirty war" being waged among Iraqi armed factions.

Official figures and anecdotal evidence suggests an increase in such killings since the destruction of a major Shi'ite shrine in Samarra two weeks ago on February 22 sparked reprisal attacks.

Once dominant Sunni Arabs accuse the police and other government forces of running death squads against them.

The Shi'ite-led, US-backed government denies that. Sunni Arab insurgents carry out attacks on Shi'ites in the capital.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 12:01 IST