BAGHDAD, Iraq, (AP) – Police found the bodies of 65 men who had been tortured, shot and dumped, most around Baghdad, while car bombs, mortar attacks and shootings killed at least 30 people around Iraq and injured dozens more.
Two U.S. soldiers were killed, one by an attack in restive Anbar province Monday, and the other Tuesday by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad, the U.S. military command said.
Police said 60 of the bodies were found overnight around Baghdad, with the majority dumped in predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhoods, police said. Another five were found floating down the Tigris river in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of the capital.
The bodies were bound, bore signs of torture and had been shot, said police 1st Lt. Thayer. Such killings are usually the work of death squads — both Sunni Arab and Shiite — who kidnap people and often torture them with power drills or beat them badly before shooting them.
Forty-five of the victims were discovered in predominantly Sunni Arab parts of western Baghdad, and 15 were found in mostly Shiite areas of eastern Baghdad.
In the capital, a car bomb killed at least 19 people and wounded more than 62 after it detonated in a large square used mostly as a parking lot near the main headquarters of Baghdad’s traffic police department, police said. At least two of the dead were traffic police officers.
In eastern Baghdad, a bomb in a parked car exploded next to a passing Iraqi police patrol in the Zayona neighborhood, killing 8 people and wounding 17, police said. At least 3 of the dead and 7 of the wounded were police officers.
Two mortar shells landed on al-Rashad police station in southeastern Baghdad, killing a policeman and wounding two others, police said. Another two policemen were killed when two mortar rounds landed near their station in Baghdad’s eastern neighborhood of Mashtal. Three others were injured.
In the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, two pedestrians were killed and two others injured, apparently in the crossfire between U.S. troops and unidentified gunmen in the city’s main market, police said.
Baghdad has been the focus of most of Iraq’s violence, and thousands of U.S. and Iraqi forces are taking part in a security crackdown. An average of 51 people a day died violently last month in the capital, according to the Iraqi Health Ministry.
Some lawmakers squabbled over a resolution demanding a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal, and others failed to resolve a deadlock over a Shiite-sponsored bill that Sunni Arabs fear will carve up the country.
A group of lawmakers tried to capitalize Tuesday on the unpopularity of U.S. troops among many Shiite and Sunni legislators, seeking approval of a resolution setting a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops, which the Shiite-dominated government has so far refused to do.
Sponsored by supporters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and some Sunni Arabs, the resolution managed to gather 104 signatures in the 275-member parliament before it was effectively shelved by being sent to a committee for review.
No headway was made on parliament’s most contentious issue since it reconvened last week from summer recess — legislation that will set in place the mechanism for establishing autonomous regions as part of a federal Iraq.
Sunni Arabs have said the bill could split the country into three distinct sectarian and ethnic cantons and have vehemently opposed it.
Although federalism is part of Iraq’s new constitution, and there is already an autonomous Kurdish region in the north, special legislation and a referendum would be needed to turn Iraq into a full federation.
Parliament’s biggest political bloc, the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance submitted the bill last week. It would be the first step toward creating a separate autonomous state in the predominantly Shiite south, much like the zone run by Kurds in the north.
Objections from Sunni Arabs and an apparent split among Shiites led leaders to delay the debate until Sept. 19.